This week's discussion topic is... Love triangles: Love 'em or hate 'em?
This has always been a tough one for me to answer. So I'll attempt a sort of pros and cons list kind of deal. For the record, I'm normally against love triangles, but I see their value at times and I'm planning on adding a small love triangle to my own book. So, I get it, but don't quite endorse it to the full extent.
PROS: Makes things more interesting, I guess. It creates a lot of extra turbulence throughout the novel(s) and it gives the characters and the readers something else to focus on besides their impending doom. There is one love triangle that I truly hate, and it's the one that's gotten the most attention in the YA world: Team Edward or Team Jacob. I read somewhere that there weren't even supposed to be four books. It was originally just two with Jacob as a sort of background character. Stephanie's agent asked her if she could write more, and apparently she could. I never liked Jacob, especially when he was the only one consoling Bella when Edward left in New Moon. He was annoying and kind of a jerk, which is endearing in a best friend, but NOT in a love interest. Needless to say, I was never, at any time, Team Jacob. But there are other love triangles that have been done well. Not to say that the Bella/Edward/Jacob triangle wasn't well thought out. In fact, it ended the best way that it could, with Bella having no residual romantic feelings towards the stupid shapeshifter. Another one that turned out as best it could was in the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. It didn't make me happy, exactly, but I couldn't be too sad about it because I kind of got what I wanted, but in the end, not really. Love triangles are possibly the most difficult part of a series to pull off for a writer. It really all depends on how the author pulls it off. Or doesn't.
CONS: They're annoying. It gives too much focus on the romance and not enough on what else is happening, sometimes to the point that it consumes the novel and turns it into something else entirely. Something like Twilight really was all about the romance from the beginning, which is why it ended up working. Yeah, there was some vampire and werewolf shenanigans thrust in there (no pun intended...maybe), but really it was about the romance between Bella and Edward, with Jacob constantly getting in the way. The other thing is that they're often not done well, so whenever I feel a love triangle coming on in a book, I almost immediately get turned off. It's like the character has to instalove with the first guy (Edward), and in the first guy's absence that inevitably happens in book 2, the MC grows to at least greatly enjoy the company of the second guy over time to the point where it creates a problem. That's typical YA formula for love triangles in a series, and the one thing I'm trying very hard to avoid in my own work. I plan on truly introducing the second guy in the love triangle in the second book, not having him hanging around in the first. And even then, it won't be a true love triangle because... well, I can't say because I don't want to give anything away... Point is that, even with a love triangle done right, it's a hard thing to digest, and even a harder thing to write about. As a reader, I often cringe at love triangles, and know that if there's instalove in the first few chapters of a book, a love triangle is likely to take great shape in the second. That's just pure fictional fact my friends
How do you feel about love triangles? Let me know in the comments!