Over the past few years, the love triangle has gotten a really bad rap, and I understand that. Two guys who fall in love with the main character, when she herself has thought she was unlovable? It sounds ridiculous, but I have a confession to make.
My sequel has a love triangle.
And it has become much bigger than I anticipated. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m okay with that for a few different reasons, and today, I’m going to (in a very broad sense) talk about 5 things on love triangles – things to consider when creating them.
1. People Like People
One of the subplots of Double Played is Cassie having to learn how to date. This originally starts as the idea that she’ll go on dates with multiple people. In a shallow way, that in itself is a love triangle, just not totally developed.
2. The Comfort and the Exhilaration
What makes love triangles work is the juxtaposition of two love interests who don’t have much in common. Of course, there are things like cultural traditions that they may have that are the same (both my male love interests are from the United States, so they’ll have US-based mannerisms and ideals), but when it comes down to thinking about it, they’re different.
Even with their careers, it comes down to what makes sense. For one relationship, it makes a lot of sense in Cassie’s mind to have that relationship, and the other one is still something she wants, even if she thinks it won’t work. One is a comfortable ideal of a relationship (as much as a relationship can be), and the other is more of an exhilaration.
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3. The Background
Cassie’s background, and even the events of The Assassin, play a big part in her relationships in this book. One guy has ties to the events in the first book, the second one doesn’t. Obviously, when thinking about where a relationship is going, you have to think about where that relationship has been.
4. The Heroine’s Self-Esteem
One of the biggest things I see in these love triangles is the lack of self-esteem in the heroine. Yes, I know that many young women nowadays have little self-esteem (sometimes, I am one of them), but make her have something. Yes, we all go through moments of doubt, but if you’re going to make your heroine totally self-loathing, give her a legitimate reason.
5. Give Them Meaning
Don’t add a love triangle just because you want to add one. Make each of these love interests give the main character something besides love. Give them a meaning. One of the love interests in TA2 will give Cassie information that will help propel some big events later on in the series. Make the characters dynamic, give them more than one reason for existence.
Crafting a love triangle can be hard, but if you want to get it right, take the time to really develop your characters. After all, that’s what love is about, the people who are in love.