1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Love triangle - what to do?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mckk, Jan 13, 2011.

    I've got a love triangle going. Now, I wanna know if this would be desperately unsatisfying for readers, or if it's a good idea... :D And a few more questions, so I'll list them in bullet points!

    1. My MC sees the girl he loves kiss someone else and is heartbroken, and so then assumes she's made her choice. She actually wants to choose my MC, but she dies before ever telling him. (So, desperately unsatisfying? Or....?)

    2. If my MC does find out she wants him, when does he find out? Should he find out only just before she dies? Or do I let them have a relationship?

    3. Is it desperately unoriginal to have the girl choose the MC? There's a part of me that fancies having the girl choose the other guy and leave Heinrich heartbroken (she dies anyway though) - simply because it's a little less common.

    So, thoughts? The other guy, btw, is the girl's childhood best friend.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would have the men good friends by the end. She never officially chooses either before her death, can't make her mind up. That leaves for them to be heartbroken together.
     
  3. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Nothing unsatsifying about a love triangle unless it's the person who gets the short end of the stick. Love triangles are pretty common in fiction. A quad romance is even more intense (check out Ford Maddox Ford's The Good Soldier for an awesome story about two married couples who cheat with one another). But no, there's nothing wrong with writing one. In fact, I'm sure Romance readers half-expect love triangles by now (assuming you're writing a Romance). To answer your specific questions:

    1) I'm curious why she doesn't ever tell the narrator she cares for him, and instead kisses the other guy. Does the MC currently have a girlfriend or a reason that's keeping her from telling him? Or was she involved with this other guy already?

    2) Think about the conflict you want here. If he finds out after, that might be a bit cliche or doctored. Finding out before gives him an objective correlative, that is, an external effect that causes him to come to his realization, or an internal arc, then go after her finally. Nothing wrong with having them fall into a romance, especially if the other guy comes back with a vengeance.

    3) I guess you're damned if you do and damned if you don't here. But who says she has to make that choice? She could continue her relationship with both of them, on and off. If it's anything like real life, there's going to be a consequence to either choice. The other guy may still pester them. She may even still harbor feelings for the other guy. She could be a two-timer and swing between both of them.

    Above all else, if this is really your MC's story and not the love interest's, you should make him work for what he wants. It would be too convenient if his story is about his wanting to be with her and then she's the one who brings it all together. Have him yearn for her, fight for her, live in turmoil through conflict after conflict after conflict. It's up to you whether or not you want him to achieve his goal in the end, but at least he should come to some sort of realization after all of his work and change for the better or worse because of it.

    I hope this helps. Hope to see this story in the Review Room soon.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Elgaisma, I didn't think of that actually. Could be a good idea... maybe have them as good friends whilst harbouring feelings for Eleanor, and then have massive tension in the friendship... etc

    The Degenerate - thank you for such a detailed response! The idea of her not saying anything was simply that she didn't have a chance yet - basically my current idea is this: Luke comes and professes his love for her and kisses her (she kisses him back, but didn't initiate it). Since Heinrich sees this, he reacts angrily and lashes out at Eleanor (not physically) but all in all, he starts ignoring her and avoiding her and generally being mean to her - that's the idea anyway - so Eleanor never says anything because now she's wondering if she wants such a nasty man. Heinrich isn't nasty, but he's just hurting and unfortunately behaves immaturely - Eleanor has no idea what brought about the sudden change in personality. And I haven't thought about how I'd fix this yet. Not got that far.

    I just came up with another idea - so because Heinrich's mean to her, she changes her mind and chooses Luke, whilst all this time, the reader knows Eleanor should be with Heinrich. Now, if Luke used to be best friends with Heinrich (Elgaisma's idea, which I like), that could be another drama entirely.

    And it's actually a fantasy novel - this isn't the main plot. Just an appropriate dash of romance in any novel lol. I do agree with you about the need for conflict after conflict though - but what kinda conflicts?

    And crap, is this turning into too much of a drama/romance!? Or is it ok? This is probably one of the more minor plots amongst my main plots.
     
  5. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure this is a love triangle.
    All we have established is that he sees the girl he loves (is she, his girlfriend?) kiss someone else and he's put two and two together and come up with six.

    If the person she kissed is an old friend the it would not be a passionate kiss, more a peck on the cheek. So unless we are talking about an extremely jealous person I do not see the point.

    Edit;
    I wrote this post before I read the last post, now after reading that post, I am more confused than ever.
     
  6. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    I have some of my characters in a polyandry though it is a cultural thing for them. My MC is not fro this culture though he has strong feelings towards a girl ho, by her culture is required to ave more than one husband. He is very uncomfortable bout this and it gives some conflict in the book

    I am still trying to get comedy I with leas success. I think that the idea of having the two men asgood friends would add extra conflict and emotion.
     
  7. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    That's not really a love triangle. Love triangles are along the lines of A loves B, but B loves C - or, B loves both A & C, who both love B. Usually with each leg being requited to some degree.

    1) Unsatisfying? No. Depends on how the characters act.

    2) It can go any of those ways perfectly fine. Depends on what you want to do. The decision, of course, will profoundly affect your story.

    3) Again, it can go either way. It depends on whether you want to leave your readers a bit hopeful (Love Story) or a bit heartbroken (Dr Zhivago).

    I know this didn't help much - sorry.

    -Frank
     
  8. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Let's get a proper triangle going here...

    Bob romantically involved with Mary
    Frank romantically involved with Mary
    Bob romantically involved with Frank

    That way it is a proper triangle with all sides connected.
     
  9. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Quite right Sasha. Problem is, then everyone has a happy ending! ;)

    Seriously, though, IMHO polyamory storylines will be marketable before too long. It'll really open up the possibilities of character conflict and development.

    -Frank
     
  10. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Not if Bob and Frank didnt know that they were both involved with Mary?
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    i just beta read one before it went to the publishers.
     
  12. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Oooo - someone broke the "no secrets" rule!

    Hmm. Both Bob and Frank are gay lovers, ostensibly exclusive. One or both have also worked hard to establish pure-gay cred. Then Mary comes into their lives, and both fall for her but are afraid to admit they are bi.

    It's a coming out story, except it's a gay man coming to terms with the fact that he's straight-curious.

    You see, now THAT is a story with meat on its bones. Thanks, Sasha!

    -Frank
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What confuses you? :)

    So, when I say "kiss" - I mean actual passionate kiss on the lips, not a normal friendly kiss.

    So basically:
    Heinrich loves Eleanor.
    Luke loves Eleanor.
    Eleanor loves both Heinrich and Luke.
    Eleanor and Heinrich almost kiss.
    Eleanor and Luke actually kiss (Heinrich sees this).
    Heinrich feels rejected and treats Eleanor harshly because of this.
    Eleanor chooses Luke because she thinks Heinrich's a mean bastard.
    Now all 3 people are unhappy because Eleanor's meant to be with Heinrich.

    That's the current plan. Thoughts?

    Btw I actually rather like the sound of the Frank-Mary-Bob story! :D:D
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Think Frank-Bob-Mary would be even more interesting if Mary didn't know about Frank and Bob either lol

    Your story looks like in context it would work.
     
  15. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    "...Eleanor loves both Heinrich and Luke...."

    Sorry. Rereading your original post, I see that I was making some assumptions. I had thought Eleanor kissed Luke in a moment of passion or some-such, but didn't really care for him. That's where my minds eye went, anyway.

    Yes, as you describe it, it would be a love triangle. It's very common in fiction, but for good reasons - it's something that really triggers our emotions. The two themes that will never be played out are having too few loves (unrequited) and having too many (love triangle).

    -Frank
     
  16. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is what throw me.

    I found it hard to see someone passionately kissing a childhood friend.

    You say that the girl is in love with both of them, so the fact that they were childhood friends is irrelevant. Now I get the picture - love triangle.
     

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