late love triangles

Question: I started writing my story with the chief purpose of having two characters fall in a forbidden love but as I got a few chapters in I decided that the plot needed more action and I added a character who was meant to create turmoil between the two main characters and the antagonists. Shortly afterwards I decided to have this extra character fall for the heroine of the story. The only problem was that I decided this very late within the plot, and the heroine has already fallen for the first man without even meeting the second one yet.

The new character that I added has a lot of inner turmoil besides the fact that he's stuck in a love triangle and he's meant to be a very important element of the story, so what I'm wondering is should I have introduced him into the love triangle, and the heroine's attention sooner or left her ignorant of his existence for now and continued with my original plot line?

Answer: Obviously, I can't tell you what you should do - that's your job to figure out.

However, you might consider what you want your main character's inner conflict to be about. Do you want this to be a story about her struggle over whether or not to enter into a forbidden relationship and become a different person because of it (in which case, the new character may represent her old life)? Or do you want it to be a story about a woman in a forbidden relationship who is tempted to abandon it for something different? (In which case, the new character represents the temptation to change.)

In other words, which of the two lovers is the impact character who pressures her to change?

Whichever one it is should have his throughline begin in the first act. That doesn't mean she has to fall in love with him, but that she should see him as an example of a different way to be, a different approach to life/problems. Their relationship should start there, even if at first it is a relationship of enmity or hostility.

Another way to pin this down is to consider the relationship crisis or "black moment" which typically comes in act 3 (of a 4-act structure). This is the moment when the relationship between and main and impact characters hits the rocks and it seems it can never be restored (until act 4 when it is).

You have to ask yourself what the black moment will be. Will it be the moment when she is tempted to abandon her forbidden lover and go with the new guy - in which case the forbidden lover is likely the impact character who she will end up with in the end. Or is it the moment when her relationship with the new guy hits the rocks, in which case he is the impact character who she will eventually find true love with.

Best of luck sorting this out.

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