Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Triangles

LTUE was...interesting. I definitely learned a lot, and the keynote speaker was amazing and worth all the money and attending all three days to listen to. Truly inspirational. The conference was, dare I say, a bit of a nerd-fest that I wasn't quite prepared for. Seeing as how it was for fantasy and science fiction writers, I shouldn't have been surprised. :) Still, I'm glad I went. Share with you some of my newfound wisdom, I will.

Since this is the week of loooove, I want to focus on one class I attended about Romance. The first two books I've written have a clear cut love interest and focused on whether or not those MC's should be together or not. Alas, I am a happy ending kind of girl, so you can guess what happened in the end. The third book I wrote was a middle grade adventure that has no romance, and served as a learning experience for me...I really missed that romance. So this go-round I'm back to Young Adult--and a love triangle.

I am madly in love with BOTH of my boy characters and I know my main girl is going to have just as hard a time choosing between the two as I would. Of course, I know who she will choose and why, and I'm already aching for that other guy. I have been afraid to make that other guy too desirable so my readers won't hate me forever when she chooses the one she does. A writer friend also told me that readers tend to attach to the first boy introduced in a story, so you need to be careful if the other guy is in the story first. Uh-oh.

Someone asked the panel at the conference about this, and here is what every single author there said: Do whatever you can to make your readers hate you for who the MC ends up with. What??? Yes. They said to make the choice between the two boys so difficult, both perfect options, and divide your readership across the board between Team One Boy and Team The Other Guy. Don't make one boy worse, make them both awesome.

Cue my maniacal laughter. My WIP just got THAT much funner to write. It makes so much sense to make both of these boys amazing, I'm not holding back. And I'm not worrying about readers hating me anymore. Because if I can get them to care that much about my characters and story, I've done my job.

So how do you all incorporate romance into your stories?

And oh yeah, my critique partner TARYN JUST SIGNED WITH AN AGENT! Aaaaaah! Head on over to her blog and give her some love. She deserves it! ***so excited for her***


Cassie Mae said...

congrats to Taryn! Wahoo!

And now I'm totally wanting to read this love triangle of yours. *rubs hands in a very creepy manner*

Theresa said...

I love when it's a really good love triangle. I want to fall in love with both. I hate reading a love triangle, that is the main focus of a book, and it is so obvious who the main character is going to pick. I want to be guessing up until the very end.

Should I be embarrassed that I have that Edward 'action figure'?

Taryn said...

I hate love triangles. Hate hate hate hate hate them.

"But Taryn, you have a love triangle in B2B."

I know. I hate it. I'm gonna be changing that soon.

I mean, yeah, they can be done well, but they're just everywhere and ewww. Every girl does NOT have two boys fighting over her. Most don't even have one, esp when some Important Life Event is happening.

*knows* *just had an Important Life Event without any boys*


Haha :)

Morgan said...

I've heard a TON about this topic at LTUE. Must've been a great speech! (speech? Talk? Er... what do they call them?) And awesome post... so true about making both guys awesome. What a great thought! :D

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post because I was worried about annoying my readers. Now I don't feel bad about making both guys amazing.

ilima said...

Cassie-my hands are doing that too!

Theresa-no need to be embarrassed here! :)

Taryn-no, don't change it! :(

Morgan-the more awesome guys there are the better, I say.

Crystal-I was worried about it too. Sigh of relief.

Kelley Lynn said...

Congrats to your CP. Yay!

My romance is pretty...boring. Haha. No, not boring. Non fantastical? My MCs are always more reistant, there's really no 'love at first sight' and so far no love triangles.

However, I love reading all of the above :)

ilima said...

Kelley-I don't mind attraction at first sight, but I do expect more to develop than just "he's so hot". And I love reading it all too! :)

Emily said...

I don't think that's true about loving the first boy you're introduced to. I'm definitely team Jacob and team Peeta. And neither of those were introduced first.

But really, I'm team Katniss. Cause that girl just kicks ass.

Robin said...

Great creepy doll picture of pop culture's most famous love triangle:)

If done well, I SO love to read them and can't get enough.

Thrilled about what LTUE said-it makes sense. We want it to be a tough decision, otherwise, why was MC wavering?

Excited for more of this new MS!

ilima said...

Emily-I'm team Peeta too. And what is it about a girl with a bow and arrow that is just so bad ass? :)

Robin-It is kind of a creepy pic, isn't it? I found it and laughed, I just had to use it.

Carol Kilgore said...

Your blog is beautiful. Have fun writing that love triangle :)

ilima said...

Carol-thanks! I will.

Jay Noel said...

My wife wants to move to Utah. I'm dead serious.

Anyhoo, I'm reading from so many book reviewers that they are sick of love triangles.

How about a love octagon???

I'm reading Mockingjay right now, and Peeta's mental condition is killing me.

ilima said...

Jay-I have a love/hate relationship with Utah, mostly for weather reasons. I like me some warm weather. But a love octagon sounds wonderful...and viable if its set in Utah :) (hahaha, I am a Mormon, so can get away with the polygamy joke! :)

Kate Coursey said...

I'm with Taryn. I hate love triangles. I hate writing them, and at times I hate reading them because the girl thinks her life is oh so horrible because "omgz there are two perfect guys fighting over me whatever shall I do?" Oftentimes they just don't feel realistic.

Then again, some authors can pull them off quite well :).

And it was great to meet you last weekend!

Jess Stork said...

So true... it's a standard question I ask all the teens when I first meet them at the library. "So are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?" It's as nonchalant as asking your favorite color nowadays. Sounds like you're on the right track with your boy characters, after all, teen girls lives are full of difficult choices between the two boys that love them... or so I hear.

Congrats to Taryn!

Angela Cothran said...

I'm with Taryn. I'm NOT a fan of the love triangle. One reason is because they are EVERYWHERE! The other reason is because they seem like the lazy way to add romantic conflict (I'm not saying you're lazy :)

What happens with me is I end up hating everyone. I hate the girl for not making a clear cut choice and stringing along two guys. I hate the guys for not having enough self esteem to say, "If you don't like me enough to choose me, I'll move on, because I deserve someone to choose me." It is a no win situation for me.

ilima said...

Kate-great to meet you too!

Jess-I think most girls WISH they had the problem of having to choose between two boys. Interestingly enough, I had to choose between two great guys in college (both getting serious) and I ended up marrying the one I picked. Guess I chose right! :)

Angela-I agree it's tricky to not make the reader hate the girl for stringing along the guys.

Kathryn Purdie said...

I have so many things to say about this topic, I think I'll blog about it. But like any plot device, I think love triangles can be totally awesome or totally stupid. I know yours will rock, Ilima!

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