Thursday, January 31, 2013

A peak inside the Love Triangle Rule Book

Are you currently in the middle of reading a series (or several) that has a Love Triangle? Are you worried about which guy the heroine is going to choose in the end? Does this wondering keep you up at night? Well I'm about to help you figure out the answer to your question, with a peak at five of the rules listed in the super secret Love Triangle Rule Book. Every author has a copy, and now you do too. 

Of course there is always the contrary author who doesn't like to Follow The Rules. But for the majority of YA books written, there is a clear way to determine how a Love Triangle is going to progress, and who is going to end up with whom. This information works best with the Paranormal Romance genre, but is applicable to essentially all speculative fiction - dystopian, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. Contemporaries are less predictable, but generally they don't drag out Love Triangles to the degree of multi-book series.

I'm also aware that not all Love Triangles involve two guys and one girl, and some progress very differently. There are even reverse love triangles, and other love shapes. If you want to know about love squares and other geometric shapes, visit Jen @ YA Romantic's awesome post on The New YA Love Geometry. (It includes graphs!) Obviously, you'll have to adapt these rules to those situations, accordingly. 

I will use the following key: 

Heroine - the person at the point of the triangle 
First Love - the person the heroine falls for first after the book begins
Other Guy - the second person in the love triangle

Rule #1. The rule of firsts - In 95% of Love Triangle series you read, the Heroine will end up with her First Love, i.e. the first guy she falls* in love with once the book begins, which is most often also her first love. You will avoid most Love Triangle confusion by remembering this rule.

*The falling in love part is important. If for some reason the Heroine is already in a relationship with someone when the book begins, don't get too attached. He is not likely to last for long. However, if the Heroine is already in love with - but not dating - her best guy friend when the story starts, he has more of a chance of sticking around. 

Rule #2 If you are reading a multi-book series and the first book ends happily between the Heroine and her First Love, expect that they will be torn apart in some way in the second book. Authors must keep up the tension! Sometimes that means distance or misunderstanding, or a love triangle. The difficult problem for authors is adding in these elements and making them feel necessary and not like filler. (This is actually a general rule for multi-book series, but can be added to specifically fit Love Triangles).

Rule #3 If you are reading a three book series and the first book ends happily between the Heroine and her First Love, but there is an interested third party, you can be fairly certain that the interested person will become the Other Guy in the Love Triangle. Learn to spot these potential interlopers, but remember rule #1 and don't get too attached to the Other Guy. 

Rule #4 If you are reading a three book Love Triangle series and the Heroine ends up firmly with the Other Guy by the end of the second book, expect that everything will be reversed in the final story. This almost certainly means that the Heroine will end up back with her First Love by the conclusion of the series.  This is when it is especially important not to forget Rule #1.

Rule #5 If a Love Triangle enters a story because it looks like there is some HUGE reason that the Heroine and her First Love can't be together, don't panic. This technique is being used to throw you off. Everything will end happily for the Heroine and her First Love by the conclusion of the series.

I know what you're thinking: If there are exceptions to the rules, maybe the book I'm reading is going to be the time that everything is different. I still wonder that for many books I read, and it's certainly possible. But it is also rare, so don't pin your hopes (or fears) on that unlikely scenario. 

Of course I have tons of examples of books that fit each rule, and even a few exceptions. But unfortunately, sharing them would be a spoiler. 


Any more rules you know of? 



30 comments:

  1. HA! I love this post, Lauren! Just fantastic! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, K! As annoying as triangles can be, they are also generally predictable.

      Delete
  2. I seriously need to step away from the computer and get ready for the day, but this had me smiling and I couldn't stop reading. You're so right!! "Sequel-phase" is what another blogger calls that second book syndrome. (Pretty sure it was Enna Isilee from Squeaky Books who made up that term!) You know...the couple has overcome supernatural forces and sometimes death itself to be together and then in the next book, they're moody and distant with each other and some other person hops in the picture and BAM: Triangle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I like that term. I've never heard it, but definitely fits. It's so very annoying when a couple gets together FINALLY, and then everything they accomplished backtracks in book 2, and the drama begins! So true. Great point.

      Delete
  3. So, so true.

    However, I have one series where I think I am rooting more for guy number two than guy number one, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the author may just go there. We will see!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very curious what series you mean. Is it complete yet? Definitely let me know if it goes the other way.

      Delete
  4. The sheer genius of this post! And it's all sooo true. Pretty much, she'll end up with her first love, no matter what. Which is fine sometimes, but there are times when it irks me to no end because she didn't grow as a character at all if she falls back to that first guy who paid her any attention. It would be one thing if the author could really convey why the first love is the way to go, but often times, I kind of feel like it's the author's feelings for the guy that get in the way of that understanding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree, Jen. Usually, I like that the heroine sticks with her first love, because I fall for him too (and so does the author, as you said). But even though, very few people actually end up with their first love in real life, in YA, most of the time first love = forever love. I think we have a similar series in mind here ;). Maybe we'll see a new trend against this coming up!

      Delete
  5. This cracks me up. You know I love the triangles most of the time, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh darling, I love that we read so differently. Although I'm not bashing triangles here, just outlining some general observations about them. And I'm so thankful that you read my blog, despite my general triangle dislike!

      Delete
  6. Yes! I have been saying rule number 1 for awhile now. It is what makes me feel better about a lot of triangles. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely makes it easier to figure them out, which I agree is helpful. It's very stressful NOT KNOWING. And only a few authors have pulled it off well. I've started avoiding triangles in general, though.

      Delete
  7. Love this! But I still can't figure out whether Steph is going to end up with Ranger or Morelli!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well good luck with that! Maybe you'll be the different one.

      Delete
  8. Love your post!
    All so true. The decoy guy, the guy you can tell she's going to break up with, the guy best friend, the interested third party...

    This was so much fun! We'll have to do it again sometime.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was fun! I have other ideas, so we will definitely do this again.

      Delete
  9. This post made me laugh out loud several times:) I love this rule book because you are SO right on the money! Potential interlopers and decoys-- that's good stuff Lauren!

    Ok, the whole time I was reading this I kept think about a book I recently read (hasn't yet published) that is one of the rare 5% that breaks with the rules. Of course I don't want to tell you what it is because I want you to read it. I'll just say that it releases within the next couple of months and that I will be posting an early review on my blog SOON. Maybe that will narrow it down enough and pique your interest enough to give it a try:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, friend. And I am very very intrigued by what book you're talking about. I will be checking your blog for it! You may have to encourage me to start it if it has a triangle in it!

      Delete
  10. Love this post, and your unassailable love triangle logic! No matter how many times I read these rules, believe me I will forget them when they don't bode well for the guy I'm rooting for. Delusion is bliss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure that it's 'unassailable.' Sometimes I get them wrong too! That exact situation happened to me recently and I was heartbroken! It's hard to root for the wrong guy :(.

      Delete
  11. tehe I love this, Lauren! Since for the most part I do avoid love triangle books, I'm having a hard time applying your rules to specific examples. But I guess all I really need to know is that the heroine is going to end up with her first love, right? Now I kind of want to go read a love triangle paranormal romance series or something and put this to work! (I'm also very curious to see if this can be applied to the finale of The Infernal Devices. I'm guessing it will be.).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you don't care for triangles either! It is great to have support from other readers. The first rule IS the most important rule of all. I'm right with you in anticipating the Infernal Devices! I am so very interested to see who Tess will pick, as well as whether it fits this model. I hope so...but we'll see!

      Delete
  12. Hahahah I love this!! SO BEYOND TRUE! I'm really curious what you think about the Boundless conclusion! Must go check to see if you've reviewed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad that there are exceptions out there, but they are so rare. Love Triangles wear me out in general though. Oh Boundless...

      Delete
  13. This post had me cracking up, Lauren! I left a comment on another post that also kind of included a reaction this, but I'm just going to say that this is making me think Boundless is going to have Clara end up with my favorite guy so that makes me less anxious about it haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just you wait, Hannah! Maybe it will be the exception ;)

      Delete
  14. I read this last week and loved it...but I just have to say that since I've now read Shatter Me, and I've heard all these "Team Warner" cries about the sequel, I am SOOO hoping Shatter Me will fall in the 95%. I'm Team Adam ALL the way. All the way.

    I'm so wary of love triangles (and what they do to me), I usually don't start book 2 until book 3 is out. Usually I can handle stopping at book 1, even if book 2 is already out.

    So glad I stumbled across your blog. Your reading taste so far is so much in line with mine. <3

    ReplyDelete
  15. I really love reading and following your post as I find them extremely informative and interesting. This post is equally informative as well as interesting . Thank you for information you been putting on making your site such an interesting. I gave something for my information. Dating Rules For Men

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...