Friday, February 14, 2014

Writing the Love Triangle

Well, it's Valentine's Day. I sat down and tried to figure out what kind of post I would do for today. Maybe I'd make a list of my favorite romances or the greatest love stories. Maybe I'd do a review of a romantic comedy or something like that. But then I thought about the fact that I was writing a novel with a love triangle. And I wondered, how is it that most young adult novels end up with love triangles in them? Why do they have them as plot devices? And why are they so important?

I think it's a common thing for young adults and new adults to be drawn to and attracted to more than one person at a time. That's okay because at that age you're trying to figure out what you want in your partner and what kind of qualities are desirable to you. And sometimes that can be a point of a lot of drama in your life. I like that young adult novels are real like that, because romance and relationships are a large part of the lives of young adults. But it isn't everything. It isn't the be all and end all.

Writing a love triangle and using it as a plot device is both easy and difficult. It's easy because it's like breathing--love is natural and it's natural to be conflicted about being in love. It's difficult because as a writer, you don't want to make it the central part of the life of your main character. It isn't everything, it isn't the central part of their being, it isn't all that is the part of them that is the be all and end all. The love triangle is a useful plot device because it provides drama and it's easy to relate to for readers. It's something that everyone has gone through at least once in their life--being torn between loving or liking two different people. Or at least having to make a choice between two different paths in life.

While I don't think that the love triangle is the central part of a young adult novel, I think it can be important in highlighting the choice between two opposing paths for the main character. Take the Elemental Royals Trilogy for example. The main character, Rosalind, could choose Gavin and live a life that was simple but always on the lookout for trouble. Or she could choose Andrew and have a life where she was safe, but where she would have to bear the weight of a crown and two kingdoms. It isn't so much about the fact that she loves two different men. It's about the fact that there are two choices of a life for her that she could have, choices where she could be happy and have a different kind of life. I think that's the real importance of the love triangle.

And that's why I write them.

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Edited by - Stephanie King