We have a guest blogger here today, the very talented Jennifer Dorough (writing erotic romance as Sayde Grace). She will be discussing what she got out of the “A to Z’s of Alpha Heroes” Workshop given during RWA’s 2010 conference. Without further ado:
During this workshop authors Jami Alden, Bella Andre, and Monica McCarty presented attendees with the definition of an Alpha hero, common traits, the allure, and examples of prototypical and non-typical alpha heroes.
An alpha hero by definition is a individual who takes control, who stands out in a crowd for being powerful physically and emotionally.
Common traits of an Alpha hero include being physically strong. These heroes tend to have an occupation, which commands respect such as a police officer, firefighter, military or other dangerous occupations. An alpha has a set of strong core values, whether this core is morally “correct” or not they tend to stick to what they believe in regardless of others opinion.
When writing an alpha hero one must look at why they want to write an alpha. What is the allure of that character to you as a reader?
When dealing with prototypical alpha you normally have six types of alphas and some may cross into other categories. The six are the Tough/Warrior Alpha, Chief Alpha, “Extreme” Alpha, Bad Boy Alpha, Wounded Alpha, and Swashbuckling Alpha.
- The Tough/Warrior Alpha
May be characters such as Russell Crow’s character from Gladiator, Eric Bana as Hector in Troy, Clint Eastwood. All of these characters have a strong core value system and they are fighters for what they believe in.
- Chief Alphas
May be characters such as Clive Owen as King Arthur in King Arthur, Jack on Lost, and again Russell Crow in Gladiator. These characters are leaders of strong men/women and they not only fight for what they believe in but for the welfare of others.
- “Extreme” Alphas
What we would see as hollow shells, these characters are straight-laced fighters. Examples would be characters in black operations, navy seals, undercover agents, spies, etc. They put on a game face and keep it that way. Lora Leigh writes amazing extreme alphas.
- Bad Boy Alphas
We love them no matter how bad, even if these characters can be somewhat morally questionable. These characters still have a strong set of core values, although in most cases they will be slightly different than those core values of the chief alpha’s or the warriors. These alphas may be characters such as Sawyer from Lost, Hans Solo in Star Wars, or Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers.
- Wounded Alphas
Characters whose souls are tormented, or have lost souls. Characters that have lost a part of themselves and can’t quite move on. Some examples are Lestat by Ann Rice, Bill from Charlaine Harris, Max (who also falls under bad boy and chief alpha) from Nancy Gideon’s Masked by Moonlight.
And the last category for Prototypical Alpha’s is…
- Swashbuckling Alphas
These characters are fearless, thrill seeking, rogues. Indiana Jones, need I say more??
As to Non-Typical Alphas these characters may be men such as McGuyver who is the geekish man but still oh so sexy. A gentle alpha like superman, Magnum PI, Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan.
- Things to remember/use when writing Alphas:
Getting inside his head. Remember to use how men talk, not how women believe they should talk.
How do they relate to each other? Sizing each other up.
How much introspection guys really have.
Remember how a man feels about feelings, how much he’s going to think about those feelings or talk about them.
Think about what genres are a good fit for alpha heroes.
And never forget that the alpha has to have a heroine who is worth him. Why should a great character fall in love and have this one person be his everything? My personal favorite is Nancy Gideon’s CeeCee and Max relationship in her Moonlight series. The characters are so well written in all respects, especially when it comes to being worth each other.
The workshop was only an hour long so we didn’t get to talk a lot more about each of the Alpha categories, but the worksheet used for this workshop should be on the RWA website, and a recording of the entire workshop can be purchased online. Thank you for having me blog today. The presenters of this workshop again were Jami Alden, Bella Andre, and Monica McCarty.
Thanks again for allowing me to relate the wonderful information I learned at this workshop.
Jennifer Dorough writing erotic romance as Sayde Grace. Riding Double is now available and The Harder They Buck will be released October 22, 2010 through The Wild Rose Press. For more information about Sayde please visit http://www.saydegrace.com or follow her on twitter http://twitter.com/saydegrace
Thanks to Jennifer Dorough aka Sayde Grace for the excellent post on Alpha Heroes.
Please join me on Wednesday for a discussion on Building Theme.