Love Triangles

Have you ever written a love triangle? I have, on a few occasions, but never well. It’s so hard to create two deserving heroes.

I recently got an R on Surface, saying that my heroine’s less than flattering comparisons between the hero and her fiancé made it clear that the heroine would never marry her fiancé.

There have been some well done triangles. I loved the Pacey/Joey/Dawson triangle on Dawson’s Creek. I always rooted for Pacey. There’s the Sawyer/Kate/Jack triangle on Lost. Again, I’m rooting for the underdog.

The triangle in Sex and the City, between Big, Carrie and Aidan broke my heart. I wanted her with Big, but Aidan was just so great. How to choose?

I liked the triangle between Wolverine, Cyclops and Jean Gray in X-Men. Cyclops was the super good guy, very heroic, but the bad boy in Wolverine appealed to Jean. She stayed with the good boy till the end, though.

Then there’s the one in the Lord of the Rings trilogies. Arwen the ethereal beauty, Eowyn the warrior both in love with heroic Aragorn.

So, two things. What are some other well done love triangles, where you have equally worthy heroes or heroines jostling for the heroine or hero’s attention?

AND, most importantly, how do you create these worthy characters without diluting the main romance?

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Unknown said...

Pride and Prejudice (I know I misspelled that.) had a love triangle. Bridget Jones' Diary. Trying to think of others.

I have an idea for one. But I'm really not sure I could pull it off and do it justices. But I really love the idea. It's one of those that won't leave you alone.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Ranger and Joe Morelli in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas in Sweet Home Alabama. Michelle Cunnah has a love triangle in Confessions of a Serial Dater.

I have a love triangle in Nearly Famous, and I've tried to weight it equally between the two men.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Elizabeth on the one from Sweet Home Alabama. Even though I wanted her with the Josh Lucas character, Patrick Dempsey's character was a decent guy.

MJFredrick said...

Ranger and Joe is a good one, they're equally good characters. I didn't like Sweet Home Alabama, so pushed it out of my head.

Shesawriter said...

The best love-triangle I've seen so far was in The Notebook. The heroine was terribly conflicted. She loved Noah and her fiance, but in different ways. Difference being---Noah was her soulmate. :-)


Anonymous said...

My take...

A love triangle works when the two men in question are both worthy, but very different. The reader needs to feel that the heroine is meant to be with one of them (usually the one she is trying NOT to choose!), despite how things may appear logically.


KATZ said...

This sort of counts - Bridges Of Madison County.
Merle Streep (sp) felt responsibility and love for her husband and kids, but she fell IN love with Clint Eastwood for making her feel like a woman.
I usually don't like stories about adultery, but I just bawled and bawled at the end when she had the chance to go with Clint and didn't do it.
Great movie romance-wise.

MJFredrick said...

Hmm, may have to watch Notebook to deepen this a bit.

The only problem I have with Bridges is that we only saw a little bit of the husband.

I want Mallory to love Jonathan for his stability, but Adrian is her soul mate. It's hard to balance.

Shesawriter said...


You haven't seen The Notebook? Oh, my GAWD! Get thee to a Blockbuster pronto and rent this movie. I'm not a fan of Sparks, but the movie is a tear jerker. I rented it from Netflix, then bought it at my local Blockbuster. It's an absolute keeper. The romance is all over the film and the lovestory is amazing.


MJFredrick said...

Tanya, I confess I rented The Notebook, but only because one of the Noodlers was a walk on in the carnival scene. I didn't feel like watching such a tearjerker. May have to rethink.


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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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