T is for Triangle

Artwork by Tom Torre (@Copernicus Nerd)

Artwork by Tom Torre (@Copernicus Nerd)

By Jennie Goloboy

Love triangles are an old idea—so how do you make sure that your version of a love triangle is engaging to your readers?

1. Don’t imitate Twilight. I see a ton of novels in which the heroine has to choose between one kind of supernatural creature and another. A vampire and a werewolf. Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. A zombie and a unicorn. You get the idea. Not only has this become something of a cliché, a character who is defined primarily by his superpower isn’t an interesting character.

2. Don’t extend it beyond all reason. I stopped reading the Stephanie Plum series partly because it was clear that eventually she’d end up with Morelli, and the fling with Ranger was just her way to avoid settling down.

3. Make sure the choice is real, and that it shows something about your protagonist. For example, when Rebecca gives up the chance to escape from her “trial” with Brian de Bois-Guilbert because of her love for Ivanhoe, we learn she is an idiot.

In general, the more tension you can keep going, the better for your triangle.

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