Well, hello there friends! It’s been a while, I must say. But here I am with a bookish post to quench your thirst! Now, I wrote this twitter thread a few months ago, and I remember thinking to myself, I should just make this into a post for my blog and make it into some sort of series (?) where I can rant about tropes that failed in its delivery. I’m not saying that I hate all tropes in fiction, but I am saying that there is a time when books fail in their ability to deliver the trope in a way that is, well, good. Here we go!
LOVE TRIANGLES/RECTANGLES/OCTAGONS ETC.
I’m just going to be focusing on YA fiction at the moment, but most of the points I rant about can be seen in adult fiction, especially in the romance genre.
Talking in general, a majority of the time it is the female protagonist who is ‘stuck’ between two guys. For me, the indecisiveness can sometimes work towards demeaning the female character as she somehow then becomes defined by this ‘tug-of-war’ relationship that has formed. The story usually then shifts from whatever was happening, to this romantic ‘angst’ of ‘who will she choose?’ – which, let’s be honest, can be a bit boring. And a bit painful. It can be completely overdone in YA and mostly in a way that is not exciting or engaging for the reader. If you need a plot device, move your story forward, be more creative than two dudes (usually, best friend versus the guy the female protagonist has a crush on) fighting ‘to win her heart’. Does she really need them? Is it that important to the story? Think carefully.
If she falls in love with a second dude (and the storyline isn’t going towards a polyamorous relationship) then her love that she has for the first dude can come across as fickle. You’re telling me that she was waxing poetic about how she found her ONE TRUE LOVE like two chapters previously, but now she’s confused? I’m the one that’s confused. What this does is it portrays the character as too young and naive to understand her own feelings. So maybe, let her grow up a bit first?
Then there’s the ‘drama’ that ensues. This dramatic element as a result of the love triangle is ridiculously superficial and stupid. Ultimately, it boils down to the girl having to choose and the guys feeling entitled to her ‘love’ – or, infatuation would be a better word for it. The drama can end in a paragraph; it does not require the entire second half of the novel.
In saying that, if not done well, love triangles can perpetuate this myth that a woman needs to be ‘caught’. In fiction that is geared towards young adults who are still growing and learning to understand themselves, this is something that I can’t roll with. Stop the whole predator versus prey thing – it doesn’t work anymore.
Goddamn, what a rant. I apologise, how did you stay until the end? I’m honoured, thank you. As I said before, I have already posted this rant as a twitter thread a while ago – but I thought to make it official so I can do something like a blog series (?) – I don’t know. If you have any cliche/tropes in fiction you can’t stand, let me know and I can make a list!
Thank you! Happy reading! Until next time!