Let's all give a warm welcome to Tracy Deebs, who's the author of upcoming release Tempest Rising. Today she's giving us her take on love triangles and how to make a good one. But first here's a little about her:
Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.
I’m about to tell you one of my guilty little secrets, something that up until this blog posted, very few people ever knew about me and that secret is this: I am a sucker for a love triangle. Movies, TV, books, I love to watch the dynamics as the heroine struggles to choose between two fabulous guys. Maybe because it’s hard to imagine the average girl having two absolutely wonderful and amazing guys to choose from. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of not knowing until the very end whether the heroine is going to choose the best friend/boy next door or the bad boy. And maybe’s it’s just all that great sexual tension and angst that is part and parcel to the situation. Whatever it is, I am fascinated by love triangles—and judging by the whole Team Edward/Team Jacob phenomenon, I am not the only one.
One of the things I think is most interesting about love triangles is the dynamics of putting one together. For the purposes of this blog post, I’m going to focus on the two guys, one girl love triangle, but please know that I understand there are a lot of triangles out there with two girls and one guy. They just don’t happen to be the ones I’m most interested in ;)
So what does an author need to do to put together a strong, captivating love triangle in YA today? A few things, actually.
1) Start with a heroine who is pretty average (everygirl if you will) but make sure she is the self-sacrificing type. Not in a woe-is-me, everyone-else-is-so-much-more-important-than-I-am kind of way (although there are a few of those out there) but in a there-are-things-or-people-in-the-world-I-care-about-so-much-that-I’m-willing-to-die-for-them.
2) Add in the best friend/boy next door/genuinely good guy. Make sure he’s hotter, stronger, smarter, and smells better than most boys next door, then give him at least one extraordinary characteristic (loyalty, strength, telekinesis, whatever)
3) Add in the bad boy/lost soul who either thinks he’s worse than he is or who really is a badass (depending on which of these he is, will often help you figure out who the heroine is going to end up with. When she chooses the bad boy over the best friend, he has to be redeemable. In other words, he can’t be all bad). Make him dark, mysterious, troubled, a little lost. Oh, and sexy. Make him very, very sexy. Then give him a secret and a few extraordinary characteristics.
4) Thrust the heroine into danger of some sort
5) Step back and watch the sparks fly …
Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.
So, what do you think of love triangles? Like them? Hate them? Or are you indifferent? And if you like them, which love triangle is your favorite? I’m partial to Seth/Aislinn/Keenan (Wicked Lovely) and Damon/Elena/Stefan (Vampire Diaries), although I have to admit that one of my new favorites is the love triangle from my own book, Tempest Rising: Mark/Tempest/Kona. I had so much fun writing the fireworks between these three … I only hope readers feel the same. Leave a comment to be entered to win a Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip Gloss in the shade of Tempest.
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