Love triangles- they're everywhere! They've possessed the mind of every evil writer overlord out there (and some of the benign ones as well), and they simply WILL NOT LET GO.
For example- Twilight. If you take the love triangle away, there's nothing left. And THG depended too heavily on the love triangle as well. There are so many more examples, but I tend to run away as quickly as I can when a love triangle is listed on the book jacket. Sometimes, books slip through my filters, however, so I've still ended up an expert on this plot device. (Rick Riordan- I'm looking at you. I THOUGHT YOU WERE ONE OF US!)
Actually, the term "love triangle" is a misnomer, because that implies that both the love interests of the main character are in love with each other as well. (This concept is best presented visually.) And, while that may have been the perfect wakeup call for a Mary Sue like Bella, it isn't accurate. (I may or may not be sobbing into my pillow because of this realization.)
Therefore, I propose to END SOBBING INTO PILLOWS ONCE AND FOR ALL by changing the name to "love angle". It's more accurate, you see. And also it takes away the satisfaction your math teacher may get when (s)he asks you to find the sine, cosine and tangent of Katniss, Peeta and Gale's relationship. (All math teachers do this, right?)
The love angle phenomenon is described like this- Main character (MC) falls in love with Love Interest #1 (L1). She's known L1 for years, and he's friendly, compassionate, and reliable. MC begins to plan her wedding, but she puts a kink in her future wedding pantyhose when she meets Love Interest #2 (L2). L2 is the polar opposite of L1- he's dark, brooding, and unpredictable. Confused MC doesn't know who to choose, so she reaches a compromise and leads both on. Finally, at the end of the book (series), something unthinkable happens, forcing her to cast one of the love interests away.
Of course, MC isn't always a girl. And sometimes L1 and L2 are slightly different. But a version of this appears in a majority of YA books these days, and it makes me sad.
(Dangit. The picture isn't showing, and it took me forever to make! You can look at it here- http://wrensong.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-anatomy-of-love-angle.html)
Originally published on December 8, 2012.