Saturday, July 24, 2010

Love Triangles are Wrecktangles

First off, I was a bad blogger last month and forgot to introduce myself. So here goes... *waves awkwardly* Hi! I'm Leah Clifford and I write YA Urban Fantasy. My first novel, A Touch Mortal is coming out with GreenWillow on February 22, 2011. And, um, it's got a hot boy with wings, Siders who spread Touch to the mortals and seedy New York City clubs with devilishly good bands. You should check it out here:

And onto the post! (/awkward)

Girl meets Boy. Girl is sure Boy is her forever and everything is going to turn out sappily every after. And then, just before a. boy asks out girl "officially" b. they're able to run away together from an evil goverment facility or c. Girl tosses aside her mortal life for Boy, she meets... Other Boy. And suddenly things have gone from the warm glow of happily ever after to a raging inferno of jealousy, passion and the knowledge that one of these Romeo's will end this book (or the book's sequel...or the third if it's a trilogy) with a broken heart.

Oh love triangles! You give stories tension (Who will she CHOOSE?!!), give characters depth (and WHY?!!), give fans rivalries and Team t-shirts.

To see what team you are, please answer this simple question. Who is Bella standing between?

A. Edward. There is no one else in the picture. (You are team Edward.)

B. Taylor Lautner's abs (happy sigh) and that creepy guy who watches her sleep (grr face). (Team Jacob!)

C. Cedric Diggory and... oh my gawd is that Shark Boy?! (You've been in a coma. Even if you don't like Twilight? You. Choose. A. Team. It's like presidential elections.)

Now, if I'm reading your book and you've done your job as a writer, by this point there's some plot going on, stakes are high and I'm making myself the One More Chapter And Then I'll Write promise...for the sixth chapter. I care about these three characters. I care about Boy 1 and Boy 2 that Girl is forced to choose between and I care about Girl and her terrible choice. I care about all of them.

And then things change. Maybe Boy 2 saves her (or she saves him!) from certain death. Maybe Boy 1 stops off at work with her favorite flowers just cuz and the hopeless romantic inside me swoons and *BAM* I've chosen a Team. Shortly after, we see Girl herself begin to lean.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the death rattle of a love triangle.

Once I've chosen and I'm pretty sure that she's chosen, your triangle isn't so much a triangle anymore. It's a Couple with an Awkward.

I don't want my guy to be an Awkward.

See, I usually root for the underdog (pun intended Team Jacob) and so I've fallen in love with this guy who I know will be crushed by her decision. The second she's just dragging Unchosen along because she doesn't want his feelings hurt, I'm gonna start to hate Girl a bit. But I don't want my guy left hanging. It's not fair! It's wrong! It's keeping him away from me! *ahem* The more she strings him along, the madder I get. The madder I get, the less I care about whether Girl lives or dies, or if she has sequels! Love triangles are a lot like burning a candle at both ends--sure, it gives a lovely light. Just make sure one of those sides burns out fast.


Nicole Murphy said...

Yep - make your choice, tell other guy, deal with the fact he'll be hurt and he'll probably try to hurt you too and that will suck but in the end he'll heal, be able to go on and find someone else and you can indulge in your HEA guilt free.

And then, dear author, find another way to ramp up the tension in your books :)

nymfaux said...

Um...I don't want to make any enemies here, because I do have a lot of love for Jacob, and sure Jacob's hot, and awesome, sweet, and he loves Bella...but was there ever any question that she would pick Edward??? I mean, other than the million or so times she mentioned that she loved Edward and he was the only one for her and she could never love anyone else and she would die (with or) without him???

I'm just saying...she was kind of obvious about it...

I'm not saying whether she SHOULD have chosen one or the other, just that she seemed to be pretty clear about it...

By the way, you're book totally sounds awesome!!!!

Leah Clifford said...

Nicole, EXACTLY!

Nymfaux, no enemies made at all :) Like I said, I tend to root for the underdog. There may have been a moment when Edward was all Sparkly Death Bound that I thought MAYBE, just maybe, she'd go for my guy, but once that was over, yeah. The girl had made her choice. Not saying there aren't DAMN good love triangles out there that maintain the who-will-she-choose tension, but once the MC makes her choice, I kinda feel like she should...yanno, make the choice. I just wondered how everyone else out there felt. Thank you for the compliment on my book!

Jacqueline C. said...

I completely concur! I've been having this problem with The Hunger Games trilogy myself. Katniss was so leaning toward Gale in most of Catching Fire and Peeta is too much of a sweetheart for her to be leading on!

nymfaux said...

I remember the first time I read the Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce, I was really surprised w/which way the character went...But after multiple readings and re-readings, I've realized that there was only one guy Alanna could really be herself with, and that it would have been horrible if she'd have picked anyone else...

I definitely agree with you about making a choice in triangles--the ones on tv are the worst!!!--especially when EVERYONE knows who is supposed to be together, and everybody just ignores it--Like Mac and Harm on Jag who didn't get together until the the final episode of the final season!!!

And now on Eureka, Sheriff Carter should definitely be with Allison, but anytime they get close to connecting, something happens to the time/space continuum--And if you think I'm exaggerating, there have actually been at least 3 time/space continuum issues that have come between them!!!!!!

stupid time/space continuum triangles!!!!

Sharon S. said...

what a witty post:) Yes, you will have to make her choose, but...the unchosen boy can get his *own book, where he gets what he wants. We all love the underdog. Looking forward to reading your book!

Leah Clifford said...

Jacqueline, it's funny because I don't feel that way about The Hunger Games. I don't think both guys have had enough 'screen time' for a decision to be made and I feel like Katniss herself is still deciding so I'm cool with it.

Sharon, thanks! And unchosen boy getting his own book is a full on WIN! I hope you like A Touch Mortal!

Patricia Lynne said...

Oh man, I hate love triangles. with a passion. The girl is always dragging the two boys along, toying with both, claiming she loves one more but raining hugs and kisses on the other. After a while I just get pissed off at the girl for toying with both. Love triangles really turn me off of books too. >.< SO please, no love triangles for me!

Adel said...

I totally agree, Leah! This is exactly how I feel too!

Unknown said...

I just love your description of the "c-choice". You.Choose.A.Team! I am hopping by with the Blog Hop.

Take care

Buffy said...

Of course she has to choose. Whether she picks who I think she should is irrelevant. Also, I agree. I stop caring about her because I care more about the boys at that point.

Jackie Uhrmacher said...

OMG I love this post. I don't read Twilight, but that quiz had me rolling! The best part, though, was the "Couple and an Awkward". HAHAHA Thank you for that. : )

Crystal @ RBtWBC said...

A Touch Mortal sounds good, have to add it to my ever growing list!
And great post btw.
I love and hate love triangles. Love them at first, but then hate them if they don't go the way I want them to. But then love them if they do, but then I want everyone to have their HEA. It's a mess with a lot of but's. LoL