Alisa (Lizzie) Walker
DEREK'S CORNER - Real Men Write Romance - Alpha Male Hero
byon August 26th, 2011 at 04:42 PM (1232 Views)
I have been thinking about alpha males lately, particularly in historical novels. Many times, something about them creates a speed bump for me.
They are often so mean or hard-hearted that I have trouble believing any self respecting heroine would actually fall for them.
As a reaction, one of the projects I'm working on, the hero is too perfect, so I'm going back and torturing him a bit more. He needs to be more real and needs more internal conflict to dial up the story. How do you find balance without resorting to stereotypes?
As usual, when I run across a weak element in my writing, I consult my favorite authors (aka the experts).
Like your hero rough and hard?
One of my very favorite historical authors often opens up with her hero being totally ruthless, to the point of causing the heroine physical and emotional pain/damage.
The extent of it makes you think there's no way these two are getting together (nice use of conflict). Then she spends the rest of the book softening him to the point to where the reader usually sympathizes with him before the heroine does.
Another of my favorites portrays her heroes as totally clueless about love, and women in general. They always lead with their...er...umm...lust.
Or is lustful and wanton more your type?
They don't recognize the love they feel until she leaves him because of his inability or unwillingness to acknowledge what they have.
Only when she is gone is he willing to admit to loving her, because everyone knows love makes a man weak, or so he would believe.
This author's heroes back into love, almost by accident.
Both of the above examples make for compelling heroes, but borrowing someone else's approach is no fun. Alphas need to be strong, highly competent and successful in what they do, and live by some sort of code of honor. I get that.
So how do these guys who are exceptionally competent in every other aspect of their lives often wind up being totally ignorant about love? They can't really be brutes and still be the hero, though with the first example above, some initial brutish behavior can eventually be overcome.
Author Mary Wine seems to strike a nice balance between tough and tender. She knows how to write some pretty steamy love scenes too. If you aren't familiar with her work, she has a couple of Highlander series I highly recommend.
The other person who comes to mind is author Grace Burrowes. Her Regency novels The Soldier and The Heir, the two heroes (each title focuses on a different brother) display a tenderness and sensitivity uncommon in HR but remain alpha.
Vonda Sinclair provides another example a balanced alpha with My Fierce Highlander. Great sexual tension also.
So my question is, how do you balance all the elements of writing an alpha hero without him crossing over to become an alpha-hole, or making him too soft so he is at risk of having his alpha card revoked?
Alpha hole vs Alpha wimp
* reposted from Bttrfliesz Are Free blog - Wed. Aug. 24th