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Geometry in Fiction--Writers' Love of Triangles

By ladynovelist, Denver, CO

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I think it’s time to give some thought to what seems to be among the most ubiquitous of plot devices. No, I’m not talking about the omnipresent quest, or even its brother, the Hero’s Journey. I’m talking about something even more widespread still: the love triangle.
This is the love triangle: Girl A cannot decide between Boy B, who she knows as a friend and whom she trusts; and Boy C, who is new, mysterious, and alluring. She loves them both, and they both love her. You know this set-up. It’s the basis for Twilight, obviously. It’s also a major subplot in Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games. After those books’ amazing successes, is it any wonder that you can’t swing dead a cat in the YA section without hitting at least six? And it’s not just in paranormal romances or dystopian science fiction.

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