June 12, 2013

Plot Talk #1: Love Triangles!

Like I mentioned with "Cover Convos," I'm trying to broaden the scope of this blog. I've given you one  feature about what happens on the outside of a book, so now let's turn inside of a book with Plot Talk (like shop talk...get it? No? Well...all of my creativity is going towards the new book!).

Every so often, I'll bring up different plot points--character based, setting based--basically anything I notice inside of a story that I want to chat about! And first up is a heated topic that hits close to my own heart--LOVE TRIANGLES!! 

You've seen them everywhere--from Team Edward vs Team Jacob, to Team Peeta vs Team Gale, to tons of YA books without that crazy level of recognition. Love triangles are all over the place! But they're also, in my opinion, one of the most debated plot devices. People seem to either LOVE or HATE them! 


Here's my two cents as a reader and as a writer--don't forget to let me know what you think! 

When I Love Reading Them:

I admit it--I'm a sucker for boy drama in YA novels! I love high-stakes, passionate love stories, and why not have two swoon-worthy males to choose between. The more the merrier in my opinion! Books are all about living vicariously, right? 

But with love triangles, what I really love is when I have NO idea who the main character is going to choose. I love the unexpected. I love when both outcomes of the love story seem true and possible, and it's really about the main character making a choice. If there are other sources of action and drama, the love triangle can act as a great metaphor for the main character's own life--so it becomes not only about who she truly loves but who truly fits into her life and understands her. 

(Hopefully you're thinking of Luke and Tristan here, because that is exactly the sort of love triangle I tried to create in my own story!)

I don't care if the boy I wanted was chosen--well, scratch that, if the boy I wanted isn't chosen I'll be a little angry--but as long as the story itself is thrilling, gripping and surprising, I'm satisfied.

When I Hate Reading Them:

Well, here's the problem with love triangles--there are way too many ways they can go wrong! 

I hate when a female main character acts completely wishy-washy, bouncing back and forth between two boys for books and books, never making a decision and making out with both of them in back to back to back chapters. To me, that means she's a weak female--something I hate! Of course, with any love triangle there will be some indecision, but when it just drags on and on, I go crazy! 

On the flipside, I hate when the outcome of the love triangle is obvious from the beginning--when one love is so much stronger than the other, and there is no surprise. To me, that's just a contrived way to create tension. 

Along that same line, I hate when the love triangle is the ENTIRE plot, especially if it's a paranormal book that has so many other creative devices and action to draw on. I think love stories are fantastic--but there needs to be something more. 

Lastly, I hate when love triangles are solved by any way other than the main character's choosing. For example, when one boy dies so suddenly there is no choice necessary. A love triangle will always suck for one person--someone will always get hurt or lose. But it's the author's role to make sure that even if one character gets hurt, they'll have a different happy ending (or the author can always let his or her readers suffer!). But to deny the main character the moment to make a concrete decision in her own life just drives me crazy (if any of you have read The Clockwork Princess, I'm still working through some bitter feelings here...)

A Writer's Note:

In case any of you are reading this thinking, "Well, that's what I HATED about your love triangle," I'll just say it right now--authors have blinders on! Of course I think everything I hated about love triangles was not in my story, but the truth is, I am way too biased about my characters to really know. I told their story the way it felt right--and hopefully it felt right to most of you! 

I do think any author who goes the route of using a love triangle is a little brave--to give your readers two love options, knowing all along that half of them might not be satisfied at the end, is freaking scary! At least, I was TERRIFIED! I always knew the outcome of the Midnight Fire Series and I just hoped that the end would leave my readers happy--no matter whose side they were on. 

But, like I said in my previous post, I'm leaving love triangles behind for now! My next book will be a dramatic love story (and an epic adventure), but it will just be for two :) I don't want anymore hate mail! Haha! 

Well, that's all from me! 

How do you feel about love triangles?? Let's get the conversation going!


  1. Absolutely love the drama of a love triangle but find myself yelling at the tv or at a book if its not going towards the one i want it to be. I'm very "drama queen" when I'm reading, like the characters can hear me yelling at them. I like feeling like I'm the main character in a book (when its a good book and pulls me in) and feeling the passion she feels in choosing the person that she wants to be with. I guess I like living vicariously through the characters. Takes my mind off life..

    1. I definitely agree!! I love reading so much because you get to live other lives! Really amazing books pull you and make you feel for the characters! I definitely get more emotional when the love triangle happens to be in a book that I love (one example--Vampire Academy! Thank goodness Richelle ended it the way she did, or I would have been traumatized!)

  2. I agree that love triangles create intrigue and suspense while providing a healthy stream of drama and surprise.

    But I can't help but feel that they tend to be TOO unrealistic sometimes. I can't think of many girls who deal with two great catches fighting over them.

    Of course I understand that novels are a chance to live vicariously through the character. In that sense reading about two great options that offer different contributions and perspectives of their own to the main character is captivating and emotionally stimulating. But sometimes that emotional stimulation can climax too soon and leave the reader frustrated to the point where they are almost bored.

    Sometimes investing in these unreaslistic love triangles where two amazing guys are literally fighting for an "average" girl..then it becomes irritating and ultimately boring to read about after a few chapters of "I don't know what to do, they are both so perfect," and the main character yo-yoing back and forth.

    1. Great point!! My favorite books always have an aspect of realism--especially when it comes to love! Even if the world is magical, the emotional situations and relationships need to be relatable and believable!