Happy Tuesday, peeps.
When you first think of an Alpha male, what image springs to mind?
or perhaps this one?
All of the above may well be Alphas, or they may not be. In romance novel cover terms they would be. It’s not often you find a man without a rippling six-pack on the cover of a romance novel. It’s all about the fantasy we are told, and I freely admit, I like ogling the handsome guys as much as the next person.
However, we all know that there is much more to any man, or person, for that matter than the way they look. Beauty is on the outside and very much in the eye of the beholder. What is far more important is someone’s inner qualities, and never is that truer than when you’re writing your Alpha hero.
The dictionary describes the alpha male thus:
the dominant male animal in a particular group.“two of them trotted over to greet the alpha male, a black wolf with a greying muzzle”
a man tending to assume a dominant or domineering role in social or professional situations.“most alpha males need to control the women in their lives”
And it’s certainly true that an Alpha male will have a noticeable presence, that subtle something that you might not be able to pinpoint, but it makes them leaders in their fields. It means people take notice, they listen. Alphas are problem solvers, they delegate, the first person you turn to, because you know they get things done. They listen, they learn, they act. They may or may not be rich. They are usually successful in their chosen field, be that running a multimillion dollar company, your local repair shop, or that nursery class.
And yes, I firmly believe that Alphas can be teachers, nurses, lorry drivers, street cleaners, florists….
You get the idea. What they are not, are assholes.
NO, no, and NO!
I cannot stress this enough, because so many authors, and readers for that matter get it wrong. Making your hero into a complete douche does not make him an Alpha. It makes him a complete waste of space, that you would do anything to avoid in real life.
Just because he looks like an Adonis, does not mean he gets away with treating anyone around him like shit, especially not the heroine. If you find yourself wondering what on earth anyone could see in him, then you know you’ve overstepped the mark.
We all love to read about a bad boy. I know I do, and I’ve written my fair few. One of my upcoming releases features a ruthless killer. He is a bastard, through and through, but he is also enigmatic, sexy as hell, and you can’t help but like him. He has depth, layers, which the heroine slowly unravels, and while he only ever shows his tender side to her, he does have those moments of tenderness. There is more to him than his looks, his foul mouth, and his propensity to kill people. He has his own code of honour, twisted as it is, and he garners respect, because of this.
There is a fine line to tread as an author when you write these bad boys, or the complete over the top possessed with the heroine Alphas. And because of that Alphas can get a bad rep.
In one of my reviews the reader felt that my wolf shifter was not an Alpha, because he took a step back, and watched over the heroine for years, rather than claim her. Thing is that heroine was a lot younger than him, in his eyes, an innocent, who he did not want to corrupt to his kinky ways, and above all she was his friend.
Once she was in trouble, and finally admitted that she wanted him for more than just friendship… well, trust me that Alpha swooped so fast it made your head spin.
The difference between being a true Alpha and an asshole at least in my opinion. I can only surmise that this reader had read one too many asshole heroes to grasp the difference, or maybe she just didn’t like him, and that is of course her prerogative. 🙂
We all like different things in our heroes, after all.
What really, really annoys me however is when someone says this to me: “Oh, I don’t write Alpha heroes. I write nice guys.”
Erm, excuse me? Where is it written that an Alpha cannot be a nice guy? By their very definition Alphas are honorable men, who live by a code (even if that might not be the same code as most folks).
This person further expressed astonishment at the fact that my husband is very much an Alpha, despite the fact that she almost peed herself the one time he showed his displeasure at her action.
I have said it many times that facets of my very own hero find themselves into every hero that I write. How can they not? Hubby is one of the strongest men I know, the most honourable, the most stubborn, infuriating, foul-mouthed, and also the kindest, most polite and romantic men I know. He’s the provider, the protector, the big furry teddy bear when the need arises. He is also the man, who cried at the birth of his children, and the death of our fur babies.
When he loses his temper, everyone ducks, and he will absolutely not be swayed on a course of action, if he thinks it’s the right one. When he has his ‘face’ on, people will cross the road to avoid him, yet he is known as the nicest person at his place of work. He’s also the one person everyone turns to in a crisis, because they know he will fix the problem.
Layers, see. We all have them, and no one has more layers than a true Alpha.
So, let me ask you that question again. How do you picture an Alpha hero?
Maybe the truth lies closer in this picture.
That is one of my favourite pictures of hubby, taken a few years ago with our then youngest, because it shows him doing what he does best. Be a wonderful daddy to our brood of nine.
There are lots of other pictures I could post, showing him with one of the many hats he wears both in his professional and private life, but I’m sure you get the idea by now.
Dig deep with your Alpha heroes. Don’t shortchange them. Your readers will thank you for it.
That’s enough of my ramblings for now.
Do stay naughty, folks,