Accidentally in Love (Triangles)

Ugh, love triangles, right? Sometimes, it seems like they’re everywhere. Team Edward! No, Jacob! Team Peeta! No, Gale!*  

As a reader, I don’t mind them—they’re kinda fun, though I think they can get way overblown—and as a writer, I honestly hadn’t given them much thought. None of my stories feature a love triangle…or so I thought.

Then, I discovered that one snuck in there, and I was shocked at how much it actually drives my plot! My MCs aren’t even directly involved, but it has a huge influence on them.

Here’s the basic set up:

Conniving Mountain Lady --> loves Mountain King, who --> loves Sea Queen

The CML turns to dark forces to slake her jealousy and get revenge against the SQ. That action destroys the sea dynasty, shatters the alliance between the two nations (mountain and sea), and tears a rift in the heavens.

Hundreds of years later, my two MCs live in a world that’s still dealing with the fallout of CML’s actions. It affects how they interact with each other, how they perceive certain threats (or non-threats), the decisions they make and the actions they take—even my villain is influenced by it.

Personally, I love this little subplot. It really fuels the novel's backstory, but I never thought of it as a love triangle until reading it for the umpteenth time during edits.

As mystery writers might say, there are only two basic motivations in the end: love and money. Guess those dang love triangles are useful for something other than selling t-shirts and causing good-natured feuds among friends.

Any sneaky ones in your stories? 

*For the record, I'm moderately Team Edward and whole-heartedly Team Peeta!


  1. See, love triangles tend to get on my nerves. I love it when two people get together, so if a third party tries to interfere it gets my goat. And yes, I prefer the vampire hotty myself. :)

  2. I'm not a huge fan of love triangles either, especially when I feel like they were just put in to appeal to fans. I like love triangles that are organic to the plot, as yours is.

    Not sure if I have any love triangles - it's more like characters fall in love, get torn apart, fall in love with someone else, but it's a little awkward because they still have feelings for the other person. But I wouldn't say it's a love triangle because it's quite possible that the other characters have also moved on with love interests. So no one is really fighting with each other, but yes people struggle with monogamy.

  3. Laila - I like to see the romantical pair end up together as well!

    Annalise - Love the emotional tension you describe about characters torn apart and struggling to overcome. Makes for a great story!

  4. Actually, I love love triangles. Well, let me re-phrase that: I love well done love triangles. The kind that Annalise mentioned, the organic ones that make it believable that it can happen, not just "Oh here, we'll make this wo/man extremely attractive and place them beside the main character and try to hit on them 24/7" (over simplified, but you get the idea).

    I'm more of a fan of the internal struggle kind of triangle: Not happy with the current relationship, harmless comments or fantasies taken out of context, a single person suddenly encountering 2 potential people to be with, or somebody's partner is gone a lot due to work. These are situations that happen all the time, and a lot of people can relate to feelings of frustration and loneliness of an unsatisfying relationship, or a relationship that didn't live up to their expectations.

    Since I'm no fan of romance, I would hate to see a love triangle of any sort be the main selling point of a novel (though, we've already seen one make millions). I think any sort of relationship struggle can enhance and flesh out any story you're trying to tell.

    (As a last point Nicole, I've given you a blog award if you want to drop by my blog to check it out.)

  5. Capillary - Yes, subtlety is an art...even in love triangles. :) Thanks much for the award shout out!

  6. whoop whoop, team Peeta! *ahem*