Ah, the love triangle. For the romantically inclined, is there anything more enticing, more gut-wrenching? The passion, the torn desires, the often vastly different futures – it’s simply too much! *back of hand to forehead in fainting gesture!*
Okay, I’ll stop. But in all seriousness, a well-written triangle can have your readers not only emotionally invested in the characters and their struggles, but also in you as the writer. After all, love triangles are so easy to mess up that nine times out of ten, we as readers expect to be disappointed when the possibility of a triangle is presented. But a writer who can pull one off to our satisfaction? Gold.
Love triangles are justifiably difficult to write however and they take up a lot of space, both in terms of actual length and plot. For these reasons, they’re usually not a good idea for stand-alone short stories, which is why we generally only see them fully developed within romance, erotica and YA. That’s not to say one won’t work in a ten-page sci-fi mystery…but you’ve got to understand the basics first, and condense and perfect from there.
Let’s assume you’ve given it some thought and decided that a love triangle will enhance your story. Where do you go from there, knowing how many pitfalls lie ahead? Let’s take a look.