Friday, August 22, 2014

Love Triangles: Do They Really Exist?

Happy Friday! Hopefully your week has been filled with a lot less stress than mine! But, we're all writers, so probably not. There's a new poll at the top right of the page that I would love for everyone to take. I'm really curious to see and share the responses. It'll only take a few seconds, I promise!

As I was packing for school, I was choosing which novels to take with me, and I noticed a common theme about the ones I was leaving behind: they all had love triangles.

Now, please please please don't get me wrong. A love triangle done right is awesome. However, starting sometime after Twilight came out, I've been seeing love triangles pop up exponentially in YA fiction.

(Sorry, I found this really funny.)

And you know what happens? They get tiring, just like any other overdone trend. Should Sally fall for the sweet, sensitive guy or the bad boy who's no good for her? Should Harry fall for the mortal he's known all his life or the werewolf from the world he just found out existed? I think we can agree that we've all seen this, and most of us might have even done this (I have a love quadrangle in one of my books, so I'm not blameless on this).

I don't really want to talk about trends and the overuse of love triangles, though. What I really want to broach is the logistics of love triangles. Yes, I know, it's fiction. Nothing has to be real. But I've always felt that truth and reality should be embedded in any fiction you write, whether it be about bloodsucking aliens living on Planet X or about two teenagers in modern day society falling in love. If reality isn't there, I think it's hard, as a reader, to attach myself to the story. If I can't relate, it gets harder for me to feel for the characters. I'm not saying I can relate to those bloodsucking aliens. BUT, if there's a female bloodsucking alien who is stressed about her pointless exams for alien school? Okay, now I can relate.

I think the same reality should be injected into the idea of love triangles. Do they happen in real life? If so, how often? I'm not an expert on the subject nor do I claim to be. However, I've yet to know someone involved in a love triangle akin to the previous example involving Sally. Today's generation is different than the last. One of these differences is very prevalent in dating. As teens, we don't usually date multiple guys/girls before picking a significant other. This is even a bit taboo in some places. What the teens I know do is they become boyfriend-girlfriend (or boyfriend-boyfriend or girlfriend-girlfriend. This really applies to every type of relationship) and then the dating process commences. Something I see a lot in love triangles is the MC being torn between two guys that she's simultaneously pining after and semi-dating. From my experiences, this doesn't happen too often in today's society.

So, to me, those types of love triangles shouldn't appear in every book I read. It doesn't make logical sense. BUT, there is a type of love triangle that I often see in real life but don't see too often in YA. Person A is dating Person B but then they meet Person C and they don't know who they want anymore. Person A will continue to date Person B as they try and figure out what to do about Person C. This reality brings about many different options for the relationship. Do they stay with the original person? Do they cheat? Do they leave? Do they pick neither? None of the aforementioned? This is the type of scenario I've seen at least once with all my friends and acquaintances. It makes sense. As teens in today's society, we're taught to jump into relationships. Nothing is slow, especially not in our world filled with technology, where that person you like is always accessible. Relationships progress faster. And a lot of the times, they burn out faster, too. It's completely plausible for someone to start a relationship and stumble into another guy/girl and realize they're with the wrong person. It happens. A lot.

I just wanted to semi-rant, semi-present a logical argument about this. If you use love triangles, think about it. Would you rather follow a worn-out path or make your own? Also, I think writers need to realize they shouldn't feel obligated to write anything that doesn't feel comfortable. Yes, love triangles are everywhere right now, but that doesn't mean you need one in your manuscript. I would love to see some YA novels that focus on a long-term relationship where the couple has been together (and stays together) for a few years. Those relationships exist, and it'd be nice to see a writer explore the dynamics of those types of characters. If you have one of these, I would love to read it. Just saying :)

I hope this was helpful! Moral of the story: write what's in your heart. Don't chase trends or what you think will sell. Any comments? Leave them below or shoot me an email and I'll be happy to answer them! Enjoy your weekend!


(This is the type of love triangle I see all the time.)

-Melissa

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