An Octavian Nothing vs. Hunger Games discussion is underway over at Read Roger. One commenter said that in addition to its other attractions, The Hunger Games offers what she described as a "'two worthy men are in love with you' scenario that never fails to satisfy."
I have to agree with her that many people like that scenario. But it seems to me to be an incredible cliche. Talk about an old warhorse that ought to be let out to pasture. (Speaking of cliches.)
Why is what I prefer to call the torn-between-two-lovers triangle trotted out over and over again in books for both teens and adults? Why do people like it so much?
Is there a sports thing going on here? Is there a competition going on in these books between the two males with readers taking sides? (As they did with the Twilight books.) In which case, of course, the female character is the prize. Female as a thing a man wins. (Try to imagine me speaking that line out loud.)
Is the torn-between-two-lovers set up the remains of some kind of genetic memory in which either males competed for a female or females chose among available males? We'd then be attracted to it (well, not me) because we recognize it as coming out of our past?
Please don't tell me it's romantic. That's creepy.
In the last couple of decades the female character will sometimes choose neither of the male characters. She chooses instead to do something, herself, that doesn't involve defining herself in relation to a man. This is a nod to late twentieth century feminism. Huzzah.
But the torn-between-two-lovers triangle is still there. Why include it at all? Why does there need to be a second guy?
What? To create conflict, you say? But there's no law that requires conflict to be created in that particular way. Conflict can be anything.
So again I ask, why is this incredibly overused situation slapped into so many books, and why do readers like it so much?
Training Report: I was right. I didn't get any writing done over the weekend. I did do some planning, though. I wrote three segments today. What's happening now is I'm thinking of more and more segments I need for January through March, months which I'm supposed to have finished. So I'm writing those segments with no specific plan for where they'll go. I'll work it out next January. This means that at any point in time, I will have more segments than I'll need for the numbers of days of the year that have passed. That is a good thing. It's always good to generate material.