Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Problem With Love Triangles

Things Never Turn Out Well

I recently finished an excellent YA series. When I went to write my review, I was surprised at all the negative comments other reviewers had left. Sure, the writing was excellent, plot engaging, and world building solid, but she didn't end up with the right boy!


Talk about an author quandary. No matter how good a job you do at writing, you have a divided readership and some who will hate how things end. How does one possibly obtain reader satisfaction in such a situation?

Fortunately I've read a number of books where the author really got it right, and while there were a few dissatisfied shippers who clung to their choice to the bitter end, most reviews showed the readers left feeling, if not happy, satisfied.

Here are three things I noticed all of these authors did to create a compelling love triangle that didn't leave readers hostile:

1. Hinted from the beginning who the main character (MC) was going to end up with. Readers don't like a quick switch at the end when a few major things are conveniently reveled that change everything the author has built to until that point.

2. Great character building where the reader may have prefered one love interest over the other, but in the end the reader knew who was better for the MC. After all, we all want the MC to end up happy, right? And no matter how great a guy is, he may not be best for the MC.

3. The forsaken love interest gets his own happy ending. Maybe he doesn't fall in love with someone else, but he acknowledges the MC is better off with the other person, and he is not the best person for the MC. In other words, redemption for the love-triangle loser. This is probably the most important factor. No one wants to see the boy they cheered for end up a hopeless failure.

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