Monday, March 5, 2012


Triangulation is a term used in family systems theory. Triangulation is where there are two sides that are in harmony while the other side is in conflict. This is most often seen when a child tries to form an alliance with one of the parents against the other parent. A simple example of this is where the child will ask one parent if they can go out and the parent says no. The child then goes to the other parent and asks and that parent says yes. This causes miss-communication and problems within the family unit. 

Our stories often have similar elements to triangulation. Take for example our MC has two companions who are wanting to go a different way. The MC sees value in both of the companions ideas and has a tough time trying to figure out which way is the best for the group.

Triangulation is a great way to also look at alliances and wars. Take for example (very simplified) WWII. There were many alliances formed between nations. One of the nations that had alliances went to war with another nation that had an alliance. This caused a chain reaction that caused all of those aligned with the two nations at war to eventually end up in the war as well.  

The more we understand the triangles that are being formed between our characters the more we will understand how they will react to certain situations within the plot.


  1. most def...see this for sure...and it is not always the can be parents competing for the affection of a child or turning a child against the other....

  2. This makes me think that the writer must ensure that each write has purpose and convictions. They can't just be there for example just coz they need to fill space. Otherwise there will never be enough tension in those triangulations. You ever read a book where three is a mother but is she were a colour she would be a light beige in the background?

  3. I like what Wendy says in that the characters should have a purpose. I like this idea on the triangulation. It works really well with what you talked about on Saturday as well with the Systems Theory. Think about how the manipulator will always try to find someone even if one of the original decides to get out.

  4. Great post! This could be a great source of conflict in a story.

  5. It's a definite way to build tension. After all, what fun is there if all three sides agree with each other?


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