March 12, 2011

Alpha Smart

(this is about heroes, not the word processors…see what I did there? huh?)

I was thinking about alpha heroes again. And what I was thinking was what a broad thing that really is. Presents get a rep for being one note, or for having heroes that are all a certain way, but that’s not true. Yes, they are billionaires, powerful men, but that’s part of the promise of the line.

They are also all alpha males, but that can be expressed in so many different ways. Just looking at a couple of my heroes (I always feel weird using me as an example because…dear heaven I’m not The Authority or anything…I’m just musing.) you can see the different ways that alpha is expressed by different men.

My hero Maximo from An Accidental Birthright/Mistake, A Prince and A Pregnancy believes in doing what’s right. What he thinks is right at least. And he works at persuading the heroine that getting married is the right thing for them. And while he’s dogged in his attempts to convince her, he’s not forceful. He appeals to her logic, because in his mind, he’s right and that’s all it will take. (Because can’t any intelligent person see that he’s right??)

Then I have Adham al bin Sudar (pictured…heh). Now, he’s a sheikh and he’s driven 100% by honor. And if he has to pick the heroine, Isabella, up and carry her out of the hotel to bring her to her destination safely, he’ll do it. Because he will fulfill his duty no matter what. Adham has the dangerous edge, he’s the action man. He takes his honor, his destiny, very seriously.

And there’s Gage…Gage Forrester. American, Californian businessman with a protective streak that basically dominates his life. He raised his much younger sister and that gives him a kind of paternal set of priorities. He’ll do anything to protect her. He’s also laid back but driven, funny and giving, but demanding when it comes to business. He plays hard and works hard and, has (according to him) locked his little black book in a safe so no one can find it and use it for evil.

They are three very different men who have that leadership quality, that drive for ultimate success, at their core, and yet they express it differently. Because it’s NOT as simple as plugging the Alpha Male characteristics in your Alpha Smart Hero Creator (Partly because that’s not what an alphasmart is, but it’s what it sounds like it is to me). Because your hero still has to be a man. A real man, with his own background and thoughts and even fears. Reasons for what he will and won’t do, and a reason why he chooses to express himself in the way he does.

He has to be a whole person, not just a two dimensional rendering.

I’m going to recycle a quote I’ve used before, because it’s totally worth it:

The true Alpha male is not a bully or a brute. He is the guy who is first to lead the charge for a worthy cause. He is supremely equipped, physically and mentally, to fight for success in the ultra-competitive world we inhabit.

The true Alpha male embodies the best characteristics of the male of our species, namely rugged outer qualities such as muscularity, strength and power, but also inner qualities such as confidence (without conceit), courage (without recklessness), commitment and a conscience.

The true Alpha male has the combination of physical and mental toughness but also a concern for other humans as a whole.

A true Alpha male meets the ideal of contemporary masculine excellence. In other words, the true Alpha male has all the core qualities of a hero.

So that’s a little more on being Alpha Smart. 😉


Comments

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  1. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately. One of the books that I’ve been thinking of is Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs. The hero is an alpha werewolf. In the paranormal world this often becomes an excuse for behavior real women would find offensive. But this very alpha male is so careful of his woman. He is so cautious of overwhelming her that he behaves in ways that might seem almost weak in another man. But this care he takes of his heroine comes across as so sweet and romantic. Anna has been through an awful time. Charles could easily overpower her. But he is protecting her. That restraint is the thing that makes me believe in their happy ending.

    You’re quite right that the strength of the hero should match how that man would behave in those circumstances. A generic alpha is kinda dull. Uncovering the little quirks of a particular character is the fun part.

  2. *sigh* I just love your heroes…

  3. LOL Alpha Smart. Clever Title. I had a feeling you weren’t referring to the word processing unit.

    I like how you identify your heroes with an overriding value that defines them and sets them apart:doing what’s right, honor, protection. I’ll be keeping that in mind. Right now my hero is kind of all over the place.

  4. Julia, am all about the quirks!

    Lacey, aren’t you sweet? 🙂 Glad you love them.

    Anne, I don’t think I always know from the beginning what it is that drives them. Sometimes it’s very clear. But yes, in my mind, the alpha hero must have strong conviction in order to behave with absolute certainty, so it’s those core values that allow him to behave with a certain measure…of…arrogance, I suppose, but that’s not my favorite word for them.

  5. Don’t ever feel bad for writing alphas. The ladies lurve the alphas. (Or so I’ve heard.)

    I’m so often torn with alphas. I write them more often that you’d think, given my flamboyant feminism. And I do love my alpha boys, much as I mock them, tear them down, and rip them apart. They are always better for it. 🙂

    I don’t understand why people dismiss genres for being predictable. I mean, that’s why people enjoy genre fiction! They like the predictability! That’s also why folks come back to favorite authors again and again.

    Ask any hairdresser- people hate unexpected surprises.

  6. Daisy,

    I love my alphas. I just also think it’s a much broader term than people realize. They associate it solely with a man who is type A or emotionally unavailable, and while he certainly CAN be those things, he doesn’t have to be.

    WORD about the hairdresser…LOL.

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