What Makes a Good Love Triangle? | Book Snacks Babbles

Hello and welcome to the first, official Book Snacks Babbles discussion post! I’m so excited to finally have started this new feature here on Book Snacks.

(Although, you can check out the first unofficial BSB post here.) I was planning on starting off this series waaaay earlier (the start of this month, actually) but after continuous changing of discussion topics, it took me quite some time!

Nonetheless, today I have a question that has been festering in my mind for quite some time: What makes a good love triangle? I know there are plenty of readers out there who say they’re sick of love triangles, but really, I think it would be more accurate to say ‘sick of *bad* love triangles’. Because when love triangles are written well, they can be entertaining and even advantageous to a story. So what are the things that makes a good, quality love triangle? Only one way to find out...Get comfy, and let’s babble!

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I’m going to start this off by saying: I don’t hate love triangles (although I think most of you must’ve guessed or realized that by now). I actually enjoy them, to be honest. But if they’re written well. The sad part is that they usually aren’t, which is one of the main reasons for the hatred against them from other readers. But there are so many ways authors can make quality love triangles, so many things I wish were in books more often. That’s what I’m going to share today. I don’t claim to be an expert on writing though, these are just personal thoughts and observations, on what should be done to make a quality love triangle:

  • Make the love interests appealing, interesting and unique.

    If you’re going to have a heroine (or hero, but I’ll be going with heroine for the sake of examples) torn between two guys, make it easy for the reader to see why she’s torn between them. And I’m not talking about simply “who’s the hotter one” kind of things. I want to be able to root for one (or both!) of the love interests based on who they are and how they act together with the heroine. I want to see valid reasons for why the heroine is struggling, and one of the first steps to that is to have love interests who I can root for; love interests who are appealing and interesting. (And swoon-worthy, of course.) What do they like to do? What are they like? Focus on the tiny things; that’s how we get to know the love interests the most.
    Examples: Will from The Infernal Devices, Chaol from Throne of Glass, Dorian from Throne of Glass, etc.

  • The love triangle should be more than just choosing between the two love interests.

    As in, make sure the main character’s choice is not just a decision between Hot Guy #1 and Hot Guy #2. Doing this not only does nothing to set the love triangle apart from all the other ones out there, it also adds no depth to the characters and basically only proves that the main character is shallow. Although these can sometimes turn out to be fun to read about, to get a unique love triangle it’s better to go the road-less travelled, am I right? Have the main character be conflicted between one guy who reflects who she herself is, and one who brings out the best in her. Make it a choice for the main character, of who she thinks is best for her, in terms of personality, in terms of what she wants her future to be like. There are just so many questions to be considered! Just make it a true choice, not a beauty pageant of superficiality.
    Example: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  • Make sure there’s not too much competition between the love interests.

    Some competition is bound to be there, and it can be entertaining to read about (depending on the situation), but since we see it so often in YA, it’s rare that the average YA reader will be over the moon about an overdose of testosterone over a girl. XD A little competition is fine, but if you’re to the point where Guy #1 is about to punch Guy #2 because he was hanging out with the Heroine (who isn’t even Guy #1’s girlfriend)…It gets to be a bit too much, if you know what I mean.
    Note: An interesting way I’ve seen this be controlled in other books is making the love interests have a close-knit relationship with eachother. (Like in The Infernal Devices, how Jem and Will are parabatai, more close to eachother than even a sibling connection.) There are of course many ways to handle the competition side of the love triangle, this is just one way that I found I really liked. 

  • Get rid of over-excessive angst.

    I’m not saying that the choice should be easy to make, that the main character hardly has to think about who she wants; naturally some confusion, sadness and heartbreak is expected. But I personally do not always enjoy a book where 80, or 90% of the story the main character is in constant angst over who she wants to date when there is (usually) much more going on to think about. Unfortunately this is pretty common in YA, so it would be really great to see a healthier and better way of handling things.

  • Don’t use a love triangle as an excuse to create unnecessary conflict.

    One of the worst things is when a love triangle creates superficial conflict; usually frustrating tension that was caused by a misunderstanding that really does nothing for the plot and is mostly a filler. (Example: guy #1 caught girl hugging/talking to guy #2 and got jealous. Trust me, I’ve actually seen this one before.)  Of course, there may be times where the conflict created by the love triangle is required, for perhaps a character’s development or whatnot. And that’s fine, but it’s just important to make sure not to overstep the lines to the point the love triangle just becomes an empty plot device.


So that’s some of my most important ideas on how to make a quality love triangle. After all, it’s all about how the love triangle is written, that determines its value, no? What do you think? Join in the discussion!

  • Do you like love triangles, as I do, if they’re well-written?
  • What are some of the things you think makes a good love triangle?
  • Do you think love triangles are bad, period? Why?
  • Which love triangles from books did you like? Which ones did you dislike?

There’s no right or wrong opinion here, I’d love to know your thoughts on love triangles and what you think makes them well-written. Let me know in the comments below!

Until our next babbling discussion,

Analee 10

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26 thoughts on “What Makes a Good Love Triangle? | Book Snacks Babbles

  1. I really liked this post! I have a love/hate relationship with love triangles. When they are written well they can make for a great story…but I don’t think that they should be the main plot of story. I liked when the love triangle is weaved into the story, like in the ToG series. Another thing that annoys me is when one guy is considered to be the “good” one and then the other is considered to be the “bad” one, like why can’t they both be decent guys who just want the best for the heroine?

    Love them or hate them, love triangles do make a story interesting!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay, I’m so happy you liked it! It’s basically my first discussion post, so I was kind of nervous.
      That’s a very good point, and I agree; love triangles are often better off intertwined with the story line, rather than be the story line itself. There’s a good chance that a lot of angst will be avoided that way too.
      Ha ha yes, that’s so true. 😀 It’s so common to have one bad-boy and one honorable, kind guy in the mix. I agree, there should be more love triangles where we have two decent guys instead of two good/bad opposites, lol.
      And yep, they definitely do!
      Thank you so much for stopping by! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally agree with in this post. It’s not that I hate the love-triangle trope, I hate the bad-love-triangle trope!! If a love triangle is well written it adds to the story. For example, the Throne of Glass series, Celaena has like (currently, at least) 3 love interests and no one ever complains about a love triangle in that series. Cause it’s so well written!! I really like this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 So glad you agree! I find that there are far too many people who are oblivious to the difference between hating *all* love triangles, and hating *bad* love triangles.
      And yes, the Throne of Glass series is a wonderful example of a well-written love triangle for sure! It hardly gets any flack for it, because, as you said, it’s so well written! ❤ I was actually tempted to use it as examples for basically all the points I mentioned, lol.
      Thank you for taking the time to read this post! It's my first discussion post in quite some time, so I was a bit uncertain. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This post is spot on! I’m sad when love triangles get hated on, because they’re not all bad! Ha ha, next time someone tells me they absolutely hate love triangles, i’ll direct them to this post, because to be honest, you said it better than i could have. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! Awesome way to put love triangles into words. I loved how you used Jem and Will as examples for some of them; I think that was the perfect love triangle. Can you think of any really bad love triangles?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Vivian! ❤ I absolutely love Jem and Will and the Infernal Devices, and their love triangle was definitely great.
      Hmm.. Well, a few come to mind, but the love triangle in the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie definitely takes the cake for me! The love triangle felt so pointless and became bothersome. :/

      Like

  5. I love them if both interests stand a chance, or if I can understand the reason for the interest being needed. My favorites are in Nightshade and Tiger’s Curse my least favorite was the Hunger Games. Good post girly! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve discussed about this before, but I’d really love it if it triangles were more aptly named than being labeled a triangle out of laziness or something. Because unless one of the two males is bisexual+ (let’s just use 1 female:2 male dynamic as a basic example) to connect the two suitors to that one protagonist, it’s not really a triangle…even if it seems like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s actually a very good point! I’ve never really thought about that, but you’re definitely right. When you put it that way, a ‘love triangle’ doesn’t accurately fit the situation! I guess it’s just more convenient than to come up with another, perhaps less appealing and more complicated word to explain in properly, haha.

      Like

  7. Omg Analee, this was, like, totally wonderful! All my thoughts and opinions on love triangles… you put it all down, and flawlessly. And the examples you used were PERFECT. (Special emphasis to Will and Jem with the compliment 😛 )

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! I kind of have one of those love/hate relationships with them. If they’re written properly then I’ll love them, if the better the story I’ll love them, if it makes sense for them to be used I love then. I hate when a love triangle is thrown in just for the sake of it. I’d really one day like to read an actual love triangle plot where A loves B, B loves C and C loves A. I think that’d be interesting. I really loved the love triangle (box) from The Host. I thought it was a really different way to show it and it worked for the story because it made sense. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know right? Couldn’t have said it better. When a love triangle is just there, without really doing anything for the story or the characters, it really sucks. :/ And yes! I think that definitely would be something worth reading. Yep, The Host takes a more different route for sure! I really liked that one. ❤ (Sorry for the late reply, haha)

      Like

  9. Awesome Post! I love reading love triangles if they are well executed but I’ve also come across some books with an overused triangle where the girl is torn between her best friend and the new hot/bad guy in town who is arrogant and Class-A jerk which is totally annoying when you already know who the girl finally chooses. I just want both guys to be appealing in their own way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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