I'm currently working on fleshing out a plot I plan to write in the future once I'm finished with my current wip. I'm getting all of the general ideas out of my head before moving on.
The plot is loosely:
Young Queen Maeve of Cyrridia is about to experience the Cassida, a tournament where 20 suitors fight to the death. The last one standing becomes the King and rules by her side. After a few weeks the stakes are raised as there are only a few more men standing, and Maeve can't stand the thought allowing something with a huge impact on her life playing out without her input. She finds her mother's stock of herbs and poisons, which she used to win the tournament for Maeve's father. Through the research from a few books in the kingdom's library, Maeve becomes proficient with various poisons. She never explicitly kills any of the suitors with the poisons, but if she desires a certain outcome she may use a specific mixture to make any given suitor weaker before their fight, making their opponent's job easier.
One of the current aspects is a love triangle between Maeve, her childhood friend/Cassida competitor Augustus, and another Cassida competitor Ramon. Maeve and Augustus have the usual "I've known you forever and I know how to make you happy," connection, while Ramon and Maeve have a, "You're one of the only competitors who stands out, I want to get to know you more," connection. Is this childhood friend vs. new guy too cliche?
I'm thinking of having Ramon be the son of one of Maeve's advisers or one of her court ladies, to make it so he's not a complete mysterious stranger, but they'd have no previous reason to interact so it maintains anonymity. I was thinking his mother or father (depending on the family connection to the royal family) could be apart of a hush hush operation from the neighboring country to overtake Cyrridia. This way there's some tension when it's revealed? Ramon might not have an inherent interest in the Queen either, but rather volunteered by his family to bring more honor to the family.
I haven't decided if this is going to have magic or not, but if it does it's going to be rare. Maybe Augustus or Ramon could come from a long line of magisters, adding another subplot to contribute to the romance.
Other than that, I'm worried about it being cliche. Any feedback is appreciated!