Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Elements of a Triangle

The end of JuNoWriMo (writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of June) is drawing to a close. As in, it ends on Wednesday. My novel, a (more) twisted version of Alice in Wonderland, created a love triangle unexpectedly, and I’ve been gleefully dealing with the chaos for about a week now. Love triangles are tricky things, and when people hear the phrase ‘love triangle’ they usually say, “Oh, like Twilight and the Hunger Games?” and my response is –

Twilight was a good example of a bad love triangle. Examples of good love triangles can be found in the movie Red Riding Hood, the movie the Host (in which Stephanie Meyer’s story actually did pretty well, although it was more like a love rhombus), and in pretty much any Korean drama you can find. So what separates a good love triangle from a bad one? Let’s take a look.

A Bad Love Triangle…

Gives you two selfish love interests. They both want the girl, and they care more about their own feelings than the girl’s.
Gives you a weak main character who can’t make up her mind and is useless without at least one of the love interests by her side at all times.

Gives you unhelpful and/or nonexistent friends and family members. Nobody bothers to tell the main character OR the love interests to calm down, back off, or get their act together. (I will point out that Bella Swan’s dad in Twilight was actually a pretty good parent – or at least, he tried. Too bad Bella has a hearing problem and can’t listen.)

A Good Love Triangle…
Gives you two good men, and you root for both of them. They have to be different, but they’re both good people who put the girl’s interests and feelings above their own. It makes it so hard to choose – you love them both.
Gives you a main character who can hold her own as a good character WITHOUT either love interest. Can she stand on her own two feet? Can she think for herself? Is she a strong, interesting character? Great! Give her a love interest – give her two! – but don’t reduce her to a love interest alone.

Gives you friends and family members who are involved. Do they hate the love triangle? Do they love it? Do they have any say? Do they want to sabotage it or are they all for it? It adds another interesting – and frequently painful, tragic, or funny – dimension when others are involved.

Do you have a favorite love triangle? What do you love about it? Which side did you root for?   


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