Love Triangle

by Vijay Kumar

Hello, Glen,

Ever since I bought a copy of your novel planning book, I have finished writing three romance genre novels and plotting the fourth one (Thank you for making available such a wonderful plotting book).

Whenever I expand the single line idea into a complete synopsis (or a novel), I'm ending up with triangular love stories. I am unable to plot for all the four acts without a third person entering the couple's love.

I studied some of the love stories in IMDb and they mostly have threesome stories (ex Cocktail)

My question is, is there any way I can avoid such ideas, and come with something different? Your helpful suggestions are appreciated.


Answer: Love triangles are used a lot because they work, and because it is a common experience for women to be torn between two suitors. And, let's face it, you need some device to impede the romance, otherwise you have no plot.

That said, there are other impediments or obstacles that can disrupt the journey to true love.

One common device is "forbidden love." By that I mean a romance between two people whose love is disapproved of by those around them. For instance...

* Love between people of different social classes (e.g. servant and master, rich and poor, aristocrat and peasant).
* Love that is disapproved of by parents (e.g.
Romeo and Juliet).
* Love between people of different religions, politics, schools, ethnicities.

In such stories, the couple's parents, friends, employers, etc. may drive them apart until they find the courage to choose be together regardless of what others think.

Some writers have made use of other divides such as geographic (the two live far apart) or communication (they speak different languages).

Another common device in romance is "forced intimacy." These are stories in which two people who may dislike each other are forced into a situation where they must spend time together. The obstacle is their dislike for each other which they ultimately give up.

Some variations...

* Two people marry as a business arrangement, or perhaps to save one of their reputations.

* Two people are trapped together because of an accident, or imprisoned, or get caught up in some intrigue where they must cooperate in order to survive.

Another common device is to have one of the lovers damaged in some way. Perhaps you have a lady who has never found love because men find her unattractive or because she rebels against social conventions. Or you may have a man who has been emotionally damaged in the past and refuses to open himself emotionally (e.g. Beauty and the Beast).

In all cases, the story is about how the obstacles are overcome.

Best of luck.

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