Monday, June 25, 2018

I Need A(n Alpha) Hero! By Nancy Gideon

While I was plotting with one of my writing chapter mates, Diana Stout, after a monthly meeting given by author Gina Conkle, we were hashing over our speaker’s comment about writing a powerful series by leaving the MOST powerful Alpha (or the Alpha’s Alpha!) for the final book (something I’m totally onboard with since my soon-to-be 15-book “By Moonlight” shapeshifter series is concluding with a return to Max Savoie), saving the best for last, so to speak for the strongest and most satisfying ending. While playing plots with her ongoing series, she asked my definition of an Alpha . . . and low and behold, I had my next PNR post (I love it when that happens!)

I confess, when it comes to heroes, for me, Alpha beats out Beta every time. Maybe it’s the primal need to find the strongest as your protector (even when you’re not doing a bad job of taking care of yourself!). Maybe it’s Darwinism and the Survival of the Fittest. Or maybe, as in my case, it’s just because they’re just so darn HOT! I don’t want a hero who braids my hair or does my taxes (well, maybe on occasion). I want a hero provider who is both strong and irresistibly delicious!

To me, an Alpha is an automatic leader both men and women look to immediately because of his silent strength. He's the thinker and then, most importantly, the doer without hesitation. He's that protector, a leader, a fixer - whether he wants to be or not. A reluctant Alpha is the highest on the sexy meter. He doesn't foolishly jump in, but when he speaks, everyone listens. Fools might poke him with a stick to get a reaction . . . then regret it. Things get done when he's ready, at his pace and he doesn't blink an eye at crossing lines - if there's cause. He's not careless or impatient. Think of a lion, sitting above the rest, watching, waiting, conserving time and energy for the right time to strike and then LOOK OUT. Clark Gable, John Wayne, Denzel Washington, Arnold and Sly, Bruce Lee, Clint Eastwood, Clive Owen – coolly charming, reserved, silent unless they have something to say. It’s not always the looks . . . it’s the charisma!

Sometimes, he’s the last one you’d expect to resort to violence. The vain and foolish ignore caution (you’ve seen them in every disaster movie!). A hero is a volcano that sits and waits, deceptively covered with puffy clouds. Maybe a few rumbles that no one pays much attention to because, hey, just a big, peaceful mountain . . . that gives little warning until, enough is enough,and then he blows.

In the Marvel Universe, while Star Lord is the Joker, the Black Panther, Thor (with short hair!), and Captain America are the King Alphas (I’m a Hawkeye gal, myself. I’d put Tony Stark in there, but he’s a bit of a narcissist). They’re powerful, but don’t need to brag about it, leaders who are sometimes reluctant outsiders. They don’t relish the weight of being in charge, and never take advantage of it. The old adage - Women want him and men want to be him - is a tribute to the Alpha. Weaker men are jealous and afraid of him, so they'd try to bring him down or humiliate him, but he brushes them off like flies once properly or unforgivably provoked. He has a soft spot for the frail and deserving, good causes and unwinnable battles, and that’s what melts the heroine’s (and the reader’s) heart. Think of those half-naked fireman or cowboy calendars where he’s cradling a baby animal. Instant meltdown. Nothing is sexier than the strong standing for the weak.

And that is the definition of an Alpha! Le sigh!

Who are your favorite Alphas from the screen or pages? Or are you a Beta girl?
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Nancy Gideon on the Web


Diane Burton said...

Great post, Nancy! I like your definitions. I always thought I was a Beta girl. But when you wrote about the Alpha being a thinker then a doer, I thought, yeah, that's what I like. He's not a blow-hard or one who's all talk and no action. Congrats on finishing the 1st draft on your latest. How come I didn't hear that discussion between you & Diana? LOL I was sitting on the other side. Gina's talk was so good.

Francesca Quarto said...

Love the super-hero..can I choose you?! You know I enjoy twisting things up a bit, but sometimes I just can't wait to meet the Alfa-stud! Learned something else about paranormal romance from you...patience and all will be revealed!

Maureen said...

It's hard to pick a favorite, but I do love an Alpha hero! Great post!

Nancy Gideon said...

Thanks, ladies. The research was SOOOO difficult!!

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

I love Max, of course, and can't wait to read that last one!

lcd said...

Max is my man. Strong, compassionate, not afraid to treat Charlotte as an equal, because she is. He is never a testosterone fueled punk with women in his sphere, nor is he apushover when it matters.

Nancy Gideon said...

Max will be thrilled to hear that (as will Charlotte)! Can't wait to get that plot in gear.