writing

Why love triangles suck

Before I start, I want to point out that Fantasy Faction’s Amy Rose Davis has another installment of her female heroine series up and it’s just as good as the first one.  I’m really enjoying it.

When I first started reading romance all those years ago, the formula was pretty clear.  The main couple are obvious from the start.  The drama comes from internal and external forces that conspire to keep the two separated.  Sometimes the external forces include either another man or another woman who wants one half of the couple for themselves, but, back then anyway, most of the time neither the hero nor heroine are tempted.  It only looks like they may have been faithless.

Simple, right?  In the best hands, formulas like this keep chicks like me intrigued because I get to watch a beautiful relationship take hold.  In the worst, I shake my head at the stupidity of everyone involved, but at least it’s clear the stupids will get together in the end.

And then, during a time when I cut back severely on my reading, Love Triangles become popular.

Now, I’m not about to say an LT is going to make me stop reading a book.  Gone With the Wind had a beautifully written LT.  Just like the formula above, this variation can work out really well.  It works best, from what I’m seeing, when it becomes an examination of the differences between relationships or a way of comparing whether or not a guy would be good in a relationship.

But they suck.  Bad.  Yes, I’ll read them, but it’s becoming clear to me that there are a number of sacrifices an author makes when they create an LT:

1) It makes the hero/heroine look faithless as well as cruel.  Oh, and stupid, which is a big danger for heroines anyway.  For some reason, people expect a hero to be a little dense about these sorts of things.

2) Unless you torpedo the other ship (like in the Twilight series), there will always be those who will hope for the other pairing.

3) It can become brutal (just look at the VK shipper wars on any manga forum).

Sometimes the risks are worth it.  Vampire Knight’s LT has turned into an examination of the differences between the fantasy a young girl believes and the demands of a real relationship.  This examination is a big reason why I’ll keep reading, even though Yuuki makes me want to bang my head against a wall sometimes.  However, VK is a rare storyline in my reading.  Most of the time, an LT just sucks.

(Notice of Hypocrisy:  I found my book Shining Armor kinda sorta ended up with a Love Triangle.  Kind of.  Like VK, it’s an examination of fantasy v. reality.  The same sacrifices apply to my story as they do to any other, especially the first one which is why I had to be very careful in the rewrites.)

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