With me not writing, having a daily writing blog has been… difficult. So today, I thought I’d rant about one of the most abused plot devices of all time: The Love Triangle.
Often, but not always, Love Triangles are used in the place of an actual plot. While I agree that there’s inherent tension in having to choose between lovers, there are ways do it well… and even more ways to do it poorly.
Before someone calls me out, yes, I have used the trope. But that’s because tropes aren’t bad, it’s all in how you use them.
In my case, there was no indecision over who Mina really loved. She knew she was still in love with the Trojan. However, he broke it off and swore never to see her again. Rick was, explicitly, a rebound guy.
So, the angst and indecision aren’t over which hot guy is better for her. It’s about whether she wants to try dating someone who is a friend first and hot guy second. Eventually she fell on the decision that she couldn’t have who she wanted, and so she took a chance on a genuinely great guy, who she cared about and had chemistry with.
That it didn’t work out… well, that was heartbreaking for Mina and Rick. They really were trying to make things work.
As opposed to using someone to feel better about yourself after months of staring at the walls and having screaming nightmares.
Nor did I have Mina in a constant back and forth for no good reason.
And when the Trojan shows up, there’s no pissing contest between Mina’s love interests.
They are friends, and goddamned adults. The Trojan knows that he ended things, he has no right to cop an attitude. (Before someone tells me that Jacob is 17, Edward isn’t and acts just as immature.)
And even in Last Call, when the Trojan does get pissy, it’s his guilt and insecurities on display, not Mina flirting with Rick when she has no desire to be with him.
I recently started watchin iZombie, and they did another great love triangle. Liv feels that as a (secret) zombie she can’t be with her totally human fiance and breaks up with him. Both are explicitly still in love, but he’s hurt and she’s emotionally distant for many reasons.
She finds another secret zombie and sparks fly, if not actual romance. Her ex-fiance finds out… and is genuinely happy that Liv is happy. She’s embarrassed at first, but they both get over it.
A love triangle doesn’t have to be nothing but melodrama and misery. And in the hands of a good writer it won’t be.