Thursday, June 4, 2015

Love Triangle Red Flag Warnings
A Joint Post with Jen from YA Romantics

original image
Joint post with Jen @ YA Romantics 
See her Red Flags list HERE

I've become a love triangle detecting fanatic. I don't want to start any book or series without knowing what I'm going to be facing. If I discover a love triangle is coming, I will skip the book entirely, or wait until I know more about sequels before committing. I've been burned in the past, and I don't need that emotional turmoil in my life anymore. We all have things that bug us in books, and I have fully embraced mine!

However, detecting oncoming love triangles is not as easy as I wish it were. Never mind the fact that everyone seems to have a different opinion on what constitutes a triangle. When I'm facing first book in a new series, one of the hardest problems for me is the fact that it's usually impossible to tell if a love triangle will be coming in later books. Even when the first book seems totally fine, you never know. Even when book one and two seem totally fine, sometime with no warning situations that I consider triangle-ish pop up in book three. NOTHING IS SAFE. 

Still, I think books with love triangles often follow a pattern, and I've devised a Love Triangle Red Flag Warning Scale specifically for series books. The more of these points your book has, the more likely it is that a full blown love triangle is going to pop up in the next installment. 

Love Triangle Red Flag Warning Scale

1) Has a second unattached attractive male popped up in the story? 

2) Does this other person seem just as obsessed with the heroine as the first love interest?

3) Is the second unattached male the antithesis/enemy/opposite of the main love interest?

4) Is the first love interest pushing away the heroine for “noble” purposes? 

5) Or are the MC and her first love choice unable to be together for some - usually supernatural - reason?

6) Is the plot of the book forcing the heroine to spend a lot of one on one time with this second male person? Often this happens in book two, so watch out if the end of book one sets up this situation.

7) Has it been revealed that the heroine and guy number two are exclusively and irrevocably linked in some way that excludes guy one - especially if #5 is true too? (They’re the same species. He’s the only person who can touch her without consequences. They are legally bound to spend time together, etc.) 

Completed Series with High ratings 
(there are many more)

Only one of these above didn't really become a triangle

BONUS. Stay vigilant! These situations don't seem like they'd become love triangles, but they're actually prime staging grounds for one to come.   

8) Has the first-in-a-series-book ended with the heroine indifferent to guy number two's advances? Does she seems content with her first love interest? This could be setting up the tension between the MC and the other guy for book two. Especially if several of the above list of factors are involved.

Examples: Twilight series, Shatter Me series.

9) Has the first love interest “died” or gone missing? He could be back, especially if you haven’t seen a body. In the meantime, it’s the perfect opportunity for another person to steal the MC’s heart.

Examples: Delirium series, Shade series, Tiger's Curse series

10) Is the heroine already in love with (or even engaged to) a childhood friend when the book begins? Likely a second choice is coming.

Examples: Snow Like Ashes series, Nightshade series. 

Will this new series become a love triangle? 
It got a lot of points on the Scale!

If the A Court of Thorn and Roses series turns into a Love Triangle, it'll be predictably like all the rest of them. I was really hoping for something different here, but I think that might be too much to hope for, sadly. 

Don't miss Jen's Red Flags list! 
She discusses character types that often lead to Love Triangles, HERE

NOTE: I hadn't even thought of organizing a list of Love Triangle Red Flags until Jen asked me about doing a double post on the topic. When I started thinking about them, I realized how much sameness there is in the setup of love triangle books. Thank you, Jen for the idea and inspiration!  

Tell me your thoughts! Any other warnings you can think to add to this scale?
Is anyone else seeing this pattern?


  1. Very interesting post, Lauren! While I don’t have such strong feelings about love-triangles like you do and have enjoyed several books dealing with them, I can understand and respect your stand. I never thought that there is a pattern in writing a love-triangle but I agree with your points. The funny thing is that I currently reading ACOTAR (I’m about 75%) in and while reading your list I was finding more and more red flags, and the end you pointed this book yourself. While I have all intentions to read the next book in this series I’m sure hope that there won’t be a love-triangle.

  2. Thanks so much for doing this with me! Love the patterns you point out. Sometimes (as with my flags) they are decoys, but they are definitely reasons to get your guard up...

  3. This is the best thing I have ever seen in my life. Seriously. You are the most wonderful thinker in the world. I'm as obsessive as you (almost) about love triangles- at the first hint, the book slams shut. Finally someone who understands <3

  4. So very true! I don't mind a triangle IF it's a case of two people both being interested in one person (like in Ghost Bride). I shy away from it when it's the main source of conflict, or when it's used to make shallow determinations about who the good and bad guys are, or when it's the only interesting thing about the MC. Thankfully, in those cases, oftentimes the blurb on the back is the red flag. Those sentences that begin with " wasn't looking for romance...", etc.

  5. So funny and so true. #10 is a dead give away in my book. Great post!

  6. This is pure gold! I can't stand love triangles. I haven't read any of Maas's books since all I hear about are people and their various "ships".

  7. Literally all of these. I'm so over a second guy showing up. I can't even get ONE guy - stop raising my expectations of life, YA. TBH, in a way, Shadow and Bone wasn't a love triangle as the books went on. We knew what would happen by the third, even if *some* of us couldn't accept it. I do like it when something like that happens. Things become clear in the last book [not the last moment] because the character matures and the story is more important tan the romance [duh]

    1. YES! I agree about S&B. Below the images I said "Only one of these above didn't really become a triangle" and I meant that book. Though there is a lot of messy romance, I wouldn't call it a triangle. It's always a rare treat for me when the book doesn't go in that direction. But yea, two guys hanging around who are in love with you and are willing to wait while you figure out which one you like more…not realistic!

    2. Not very realistic, although that exact thing happened to my friend in college. It went on for months. I'm less apt to hate a love triangle if it has actual consequences. But the world could use fewer of them.

  8. I sure as hell hope it becomes one! I am #teambodypaint all the way-- Rhys is an animal! Peace out Tamlin. Bahahhaa I know, I knooooow. I don't even belong lurking around on your blog. BETTY SHOULD BE BANNED. ;) ;)

    hahaha, great post!! I love most of those triangles. But I loathe that pig Warner. Seriously. So much hate. And Tucker. A lot of hate for him too. I guess hate for Peeta too. Damn him! WTF... That's when triangles blow. When MY GUY doesn't prevail!

  9. Oh! I love love love love this post Lauren. <3 You are awesome. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this :) You are the best. And omg, yes. I agree with so much of this. Oh, how I hate love triangles :( Oh, how they are everywhere these days. SO MEAN.

  10. I love when you post about this topic, Lauren! It's always so well thought out with lovely lists. I feel like I would leave something out, but you cover everything!
    Needless to say, it's scary that a triangle can pop up at any time and without warning, but the ones you have listed are not to be taken lightly! I always cringe when there are two boys in a book, which is terrible. It shouldn't have to be like that!

  11. These all sound like accurate detectors, and I love #9! When it comes to love triangles, it's like Dragon Ball Z: no one ever stays dead.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...