Today is another Love Triangle twofer. Head over to Jen @ YA Romantics blog to find out When Three's a Crowd: The Most Dangerous YA Love Triangles. I love Jen's insight on all bookish topics. Especially love triangles! Of course, in my opinion, three is always a crowd.
What do you do about the second guy when your love triangle series is ending?
Many series are releasing their final books this year, and if that series has a love triangle, the author must decide how to get rid of the One Not Chosen. Depending on the strength of the connection between the heroine and each guy, this is not an easy feat. It is made even more complicated, because both guys undoubtedly have their own supporters. No matter what the author does, someone is going to get hurt and be disappointed in the end.
I started thinking about the various methods authors have used to get rid of the third wheel in the triangle in the past, and I came up with a list of ten of them. Some of these options I've found to be more successful than others, a few have made me angry and at least one is so ridiculous I'm pretty sure no one will ever employ it again. I used the same key that I did in my Love Triangle Rule Book post, where the Other Guy is the loser and the First Guy is the one who gets the Heroine.I wanted to give examples of each of the ten options, but I didn't want to spoil books for people. Therefore, I've just sprinkled them randomly within this post. Only the first book cover for each series is included. I've also added a few extras, including some that have yet to end, and a couple that could be used in multiple places.
10) The love triangle wasn't that strong to begin with, and the poor pining Other Guy finally realizes that he's better off remaining friends with the Heroine.
Benefit: The heroine gets to keep her guy friend and her boyfriend and things are pretty much perfect for her.
Downside: I would hesitate to call this a true love triangle, except in the mind of the Other Guy. But this is the type of scenario that is the least stressful for me, especially if the Other Guy eventually snags a girl of his own.
9) The series began with the understanding that there is NO HOPE for one of the choices. Maybe he's dead already? Or dying?
Benefit: Makes the heroine's eventual choice pretty clear cut.
Downside: Authors rarely allow the expected happen. Also this method can only be used if the series is set up for it.
8) A fourth person is found for the Other Guy to love. Introduce another character better suited to the losing guy.
Benefit: Now everyone's happy!
Downside: Depending on the strength of the Other Guy's feelings for the Heroine, it could be difficult to make this believable.
7) The Other Guy is actually the villain. The Heroine won't choose the guy who betrays her.
Benefit: If done correctly, this could lessen reader's sympathy for the losing guy, and also make for an intriguing and complicated storyline.
Downside: The author has to make the Other Guy suspicious from the beginning, and be careful not to make his behavior seem out of character for him. Even so, there will always be people who don't buy it, or love him anyway.
6) The Heroine makes a clean break and leaves the Other Guy heartbroken and alone.
Benefit: Let's face it, unless the Other Guy is a jerk, this is only satisfying if the loser gets his own book/series - and girl - later on. And even if he is a jerk, it's rarely satisfying. But this is a pretty realistic life scenario, especially in the immediate future.
Downside: Depending on the strength of the Heroine's attachment to the Other Guy, it may cause her to appear mean and unsympathetic. Also, a lot of paranormal series enjoy promoting the you-are-the-only-person-I-will-ever-love-ever model, and in that case, the loser's fate is even worse, because he is destined to pine away for all eternity.
5) The Heroine and the Other Guy "grow apart."
Benefit: This is a usually what happens in a Real Life triangle.
Downside: It is much harder to make this option believable in a book, and really only works if it happens gradually over time.
4) The Other Guy is killed off. He can't be a choice if he's dead.
Benefit: This is an efficient way to eliminate the competition. It also makes the Heroine's choice easy. If done correctly, the Other Guy could end up appearing like a self-sacrificing martyr, going out in a blaze of glory.
Downside: Some might see this ending as a cop-out, and the losing team certainly won't be happy. I mean dead is dead, so the poor losing guy doesn't get any chance at happiness.
3) Who says the Heroine has to choose? Before you think I'm advocating a threesome, what I mean by this is making the ending vague enough so that it sounds like either guy could be chosen.
Benefit: Has the potential to satisfy both teams, because they could use their imagination to foresee a future between the Heroine and their choice.
Downside: Has the potential to enrage both teams, as few readers are dense enough to fall for an ending like this. And most reader want resolution and to KNOW WHAT HAPPENS (or at least I do!).
2) The Heroine picks the First for now and save the Other for later. The Heroine chooses the First guy, with the understanding that the Other one will get to be with her at some point in the future.
Benefit: Win for all?
Downside: The poor Other Guy has to wait his turn. Personal note: this option is particularly rage inducing for me. I'd rather a clean break than to imagine one of the guys pining away for the Heroine until his turn.
1) The Heroine and her First Love conceive a child for the Other Guy. One guess in what series THIS happened.
Benefit: The Other Guy gets his own piece of the heroine to love!
Downside: Besides the extreme creepiness and WAIT! Did this really happen? factor, the Other Guy would have to be very patient while the baby grew up. And hope that she is a girl, who likes him back. Basically, we will never see this third-wheel-disbanding method again.
HOW DO YOU THINK THIS LOVE TRIANGLE IS GOING TO END????
What are some of your favorite/least favorite ways to get rid of the third guy in a love triangle?
**NOTE: Please be careful about spoilers in the comments section. If you want to include a spoiler, please write "SPOILER FOR + BOOK NAME" before you say anything specific.**