Guest blogger: Lori Devoti

devotiWhy writing an Alpha Male is not the same as writing an A$$hole

When I first decided I wanted to try and write a book for the then new Silhouette Nocturne line I had nothing to go on but the guidelines which clearly stated they were looking for alpha males. I hadn’t really analyzed my personal taste in romance heroes or given a great deal of thought about how I felt on alpha vs. beta—although all the recent buzz had been directed at betas.

So, I just sat down and started writing what I thought of as a strong hero—one who would make my heroine feel safe so she could realize the strength within herself. And voila, I discovered writing alphas is second nature to me. I also, after a bit more thought on the topic, realized alphas are the heroes I loved to read—the ones who gave me that little thrill. (If you love them, you know what I’m talking about.)

So, why do people think alphas are assholes? Because they aren’t reading good ones. They aren’t reading John Wayne. They are reading Lex Luther.

wildhuntAlphas are strong, but they don’t get that strength from putting other people down. Let’s face it; no one gets real strength that way.

Alphas do not need to announce in any way that they are the strongest baddest ass in the room. They just are.

Alphas are protective of those they love, but not domineering. They allow others to show their own strength.

Alphas are sexy, but they aren’t just looking for sex.

Alphas don’t step down from a fight when they are fighting for what they know is right, but they will admit when they were wrong. It’s about doing the right thing, not appearing right.

Alphas recognize and regret wrongs they have done in the past. They don’t blame them on someone else’s actions.

Those are just a few of the characteristics I see in the alphas I write and want to read about. How about you? Do you love alphas? If so why? Can you name an example of a really good or bad one? What for you keeps an alpha from morphing into an asshole?

Lori Devoti

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11 Responses to Guest blogger: Lori Devoti

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Lori, thanks for guest blogging with us and your GREAT take on alphas! I wonder if the good alphas are so sure of themselves they don’t need everyone else to think the same way as they do or to bow down to them, where the asshole alphas think everyone has to think the way they do. If you don’t, they’ll force you to and generally act like an asshole.

    The only example I can think of right now is the first Die Hard movie, where Bruce Willis’s character was an alpha who wanted to protect his wife. Now that’s a great alpha reason to kill people. Alan Rickman’s character wanted to kill people for profit. And then there’s the psychopath thing Rickman’s character had going on too that made him an asshole. 😈

  2. Amy Addison says:

    Lori: What a great topic. I think you’re right, alpha does NOT equal a@@hole. An alpha hero is truly worthy of a strong heroine. The other A-hero should just be smacked with a frying pan.

    Edie: good point about self-confidence vs. needing to be right and having everyone think like them.

  3. Karin Tabke says:

    Karin hearts alphas. I’m married to one, both of my son’s have gladly followed in their father’s footsteps and I love it! when I’m around my manly men (who can be butt heads but not assholes) I feel very much a female.
    There are so many alpahs to chose form! the first to come to mind is Gerard Butler as Lionitis quickly folklowed up by Russell Crowe as Maximus, and then there is the lastest James Bond, Daniel Craig, woweee hot alpha alert sirens were going off everywhere!
    sigh, I have to go cool off now!

  4. spyscribbler says:

    Yummy! I love alpha men! My all-time favorite is Ranger. I have the hugest crush on him. (And I can’t stand John Wayne, LOL, or Captain Kirk.)

  5. LaDonna says:

    Great blog Lori. And give me a male character that reeks of alpha, but comfortable in love. 🙂

  6. Deb says:

    Great topic, Lori. Recently I was watching the opening of PATRIOT GAMES. There’s a great scene at the beginning showing a typical Alpha Male in action. While in London, Jack Ryan (aka/Harrison Ford) sees a car blocked and being attacked by gunman. He’s protecting his own wife and daughter but knows they are hidden, safe for the moment. After a few conflicted seconds (shown so well in Harrison Ford’s face) he leaves his family and rushes to action. He has to. For him there is no other choice.

    Alpha males must protect, guard, and solve every problem. The more we understand true alpha males in books, movies, and in real life, the easier it is for us to make them real to our readers.

  7. Cynthia Eden says:

    Great list, Lori! I love alphas. 🙂 One of my favorites is Mic from Moonlight. If only the show weren’t canceled…sigh.

  8. Liz Kreger says:

    Gotta agree with you, Lori. I’ve read a lot of books where the alphas came across s more of an asshole than a hero. Its a fine line that a lot of authors walk and its easy to go overboard with the alpha traits.

    Good examples given of alpha males. I would add Mel Gibson’s character in “The Patriot”. He not only protects his family but also his country despite his past. Gotta love that.

  9. Deb says:

    I agree, Liz. I also loved Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye in THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS , and Liam Neeson’s ROB ROY. But then I fall faint for most historical alpha heroes.

  10. Michelle says:

    Great post, Lori. I know that little thrill you are talking about . . . 🙂 .

    The biggest a@@hole heroes I’ve come across are in historicals. I know, I know. That is how it was, but a book I read recently I only finished in horrified fascination to see how far the author would let the hero go and still have the heroine forgive him.

    Alphas who do the right thing despite the personal sacrifice involved make my heart melt.

  11. Lori Devoti says:

    Thanks, everybody! A book/series where I think the author did a great job with the alpha males is Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. I think they are in great part why I love the series so much!
    spyskribbler, Ranger is a fav of mine too. 🙂

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