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  1. ELeFloch

    ELeFloch Member

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    Can the Main Male Character Be Too "Alpha Male"?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ELeFloch, May 9, 2017.

    I find that in my own writing and in the books I read, male characters are a lot times dominant "Alpha Males" as the saying goes, but I don't really want that to be one hundred percent true for my main character. He is head of his household, has a lot of responsibility, and dominant in his dealings with people due to his position, but I want to have the ability of making him a bit more in depth and complex and I'm not sure how to go about it. Being new to the writing game, I wanted to see what everyone might suggest for me. Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. esshesse

    esshesse Member

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    Write what you want to write. Mersault wasn't an alpha male in the way I think you mean, but he led his own life and that make him interesting. I think a character has to make bold choices, but doesn't necessarily have to dominate other people.

    But if you are writing a romance novel, then yes, an alpha male might be what makes it sell :)
     
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  3. ELeFloch

    ELeFloch Member

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    Thank you. I know you are right that that is what makes it sell. I want to add some dimensions to who he is and what he wants out of life.
     
  4. esshesse

    esshesse Member

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    Giving your character depth can't be a bad thing. No need to make him into a cartoon figure of a strong man; if he is interesting he'll have weaknesses too.
     
  5. Ulquiorra9000

    Ulquiorra9000 Member

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    I've thought about this line of thinking before.

    To me, manly strength and honor is rooted not in hurting others or being a tough guy, but just being an adult: patient, kind, smart (in every sense), treating women and kids well, and providing for those who count on him. To me, a protagonist like that is a man I'll cheer on! Even if he's more of a loner or anti-hero, I think that "pet the dog" beats, sometimes helping others out of kindness, goes a long way.
     
  6. cherrya

    cherrya Member

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    Write him not like a man but a person? Don't think "Men do that" just go "Would he do that?" I mean I don't know how your process goes of course but, I honestly never had that problem. I honestly have so much difficulty with people like that lol, I'm just not buying it.

    Perhaps giving him more vulnerability? Making him more open about his feelings? Anything that doesn't scream "I'm a man, I'm not weak like a woman ahurrr!"

    As much as I agree that both genders have their own differences, I do think we are people first and foremost and function relatively the same way on emotional aspects. The way we decide to go at it depends more on our character than gender in my opinion.

    Ha, anyway, hope that helps.
     
  7. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think a lot of it comes down to how he relates to the other characters and how the other characters react to him. A lot of the time in romance, especially NA romance, we see alpha males who essentially steamroll over the heroine and the heroine seems to actually like it, which is what makes me hate the book as a reader. If a hero tries to dominate the heroine, she stands up to him and he eventually accepts that? That's an interesting character and an interesting relationship.

    But if the author makes things to easy for the hero? If the author "tells" us the heroine is independent and strong but "shows" her being submissive to the alpha? If the hero isn't expected to change a bit through the course of the book and realize that there are times he can't be in control? Blech.
     
  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    To echo what Bay said, non-alpha males are also a selling point in romance. Or rather, non-alphaholes, as many of us call them. I personally won't even buy a book where it sounds like the hero is a typical alpha male - it's not sexy or interesting to me.
     
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  9. ELeFloch

    ELeFloch Member

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    Thanks everyone. :) I wouldn't say he is a steam-roller because I find that he's bending over backwards for the main character to feel secure with him because she has had some bad experiences in the past. She is independent to a point, but this is her first time being on her own, trying to run her own business, and making new friends. He is head of his household, his brothers follow his lead in business and family matters, but he isn't a tyrant and expects everyone to do something the minute he says. I am introducing an ex-boyfriend of my female character, and I want to use that to explore his emotions a bit. Jealousy, being unsure of where he sits in her life, what he is looking for in a relationship with her in the long run, things like that. Maybe that will help add in some depth to it.
     
  10. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Senior Member

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    IMHO there is nothing wrong with writing a good leader type. "Alpha Male" is a rather a term for a wannabe leader. Somebody who relies on his power to dominate others without actually earning his position.
    If a person earns the authority they have by doing the right things, then it feels natural and believable.
    So, I totally agree with Ulquiorra9000.

    And it seems he is considerate towards the main character, which is a good base for believable romance.

    If he has some weaknesses and insecurities that tie in well with the other aspects of his personality, then he is even more a "real" person. Nobody is always confident and always knows what to do. I suppose he sometimes seeks advice from somebody else. This is also something a good leader does, and an "Alpha Male" does not.

    And I think that most romance needs a certain amount of awesomeness from both of the main characters, because there needs to be something that the other one can fall in love with. Nobody falls in love with a loser or a bad person that's not willing to change.
     
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  11. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alpha Beta and Omega male is respectively, PUA jargon for a man who can get laid at will with the best looking women, the man who has to pay to get laid from lower status, not so good looking women, and finally the man who can't get laid no matter what. Under this model basically all romance leads fall into a mixture of alpha male confidence and status with beta male loyalty and sensitivity. Yo the omega male is just trash with no place as a romance lead bruh.
     
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  12. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Senior Member

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    PUAs are annoying assholes with bad attitude towards relationships in general.
    Their classification is not what we should take as examples for characters or real life.
    That's why there is a solid distinction between an "Alpha Male" from a PUA perspective and a desirable man from the perspective of many women.

    I like romance with protagonists who CAN'T get laid by will with every woman they want.
    But there are a few who find him attractive and whom he finds attractive and there is one with whom a relationship can work out well.
    After PUA classification those are what? They don't have to pay, but they are also not Alpha. They don't exist, because PUAs have a skewed view on the world.
     
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  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Dark, is it not? Contributor

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    I am confused. If he is the head of household, is he single, or is he
    trying to cat around on his wife? Using that terminology really
    throws things around considerably if it is the latter.

    Please clarify a few things, such as relation/marital status,
    profession, and anything else that might be relevant to
    understanding how to help you.

    The vagueness of your inquiry leads one to believe he is either
    a single father, or a cheating bastard in the making.

    As for making him more complex. Try giving him internal
    conflict. Show him doing things that would be out of
    character for him (can be good, or bad depending on how
    you want to portray him). Give us (the reader) a reason to
    be invested and relate to him on some level. Why is he
    pursuing this specific woman, what are his motives?
    How did they meet?

    Personally it would be awesome if they fell in love after she saves
    his life by plugging an artery with a finger, and they spark from
    that angle. (Then again I like the weird and unusual things in life
    that make the fiction different from what you normally get.) :)

    Good Luck, and I hope you figure it all out. :supersmile:
     
  14. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, the pathetic PUA nonsense doesn't have much to do with the terms as they're used in Romance.

    Beta-heroes are definitely a thing in some Romances, and I like 'em a lot. Aliens wasn't exactly a Romance, but Hicks was definitely a beta-hero (competent and sexy but doesn't need to be in charge of everything - can lead if he has to but doesn't have to lead). Mr. Knightly in Emma. Lots of others. Guys who respect the women they love and are willing to step back and let the women make their own decisions. Very nice.
     
  15. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Senior Member

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    Mr. Knightley is a great example. So kind. :)


    Lol! :D

    "Oh, why thank you! I was leaking. You are one really considerate lady."
    "You're welcome. Always again. Would you like to have some tea next Saturday?"
     
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  16. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    By "pay" they also count time. So he'd be Beta. He's beta unless he can swag his way into sex without spending much money, time or commitment. I don't even know why anyone would use the terms alpha beta cheetah male outside of PUA contexts as they don't make sense outside of it. Is the successful conformist with the big company job an alpha male or is it the financially unsuccessful man who follows his dream in life. Is chivalry alpha or is it beta? Life is too complex to have a couple of basic set categories to divide half the world's population.
     
  17. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Senior Member

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    I agree with you.
    I think in this context here the "Alpha Male" is just a guy who is too manly and successfull and dominant to be true.
     
  18. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are guys who are hyper successful and dominant. Where it gets unbelievable is when they combine that with the kind of sensitivity and time they show the usually ordinary female lead. But romance is usually an unrealistic social power fantasy where the heroine changes the man through what the universe establishes to be hidden charms he is able to see and bring out. So go nuts with it.
     
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  19. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Senior Member

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    That's the kind of romance I dislike.
    The heroine needs to have something extraordinary too, even if it is something small. But it must be just the right thing to push the male lead's buttons. As in, that she can fullfil some desire he has.
     
  20. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    Somebody wake up Hicks.

    [​IMG]

    (and long live Michael Biehn!)
     
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  21. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    He looks so young and soft-cheeked there!
     
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  22. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    He's not worried. Xenomorphs, an inexperienced lieutenant, no hope of a rescue for seventeen days, Arnold wants to kill Sarah Connor... whatevs.
     
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  23. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    He was worried about Sarah Connor!!! He LOVED her!
     
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  24. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    He had a pretty good run there with James Cameron and 80s action flicks in general. The Abyss is greatly underrated. Navy Seals not so much...
     
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  25. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The men I've known who I'd identify as alpha males have been confident, decisive, and pleasant. They hold women to a high regard and sometimes act even a little bit too protective over the girls in the group or their significant others or children. Sometimes they are very opinionated, and that can get annoying. You know the type? He just has to have an opinion on everything (unless it's something decidedly feminine, like nail polish) and he "knows" everything. But sometimes they can take a lot of shit from women, but not from men because, well, other men are a threat to their status, not women.

    Perhaps your character backs down from an argument with another male even though his hot blood tells him to fight for the sake of fighting. Or maybe he goes overboard at some point because he's been brought up as the quintessential unbreakable, proud and unwavering male and ends up saying something he'd want to take back, but when he shows he's remorseful, you offer to glimpse to the more fragile person underneath.

    I read a lot of thrillers with badass heroes stomping through the battlefield, killing bad guys and unearthing government plots, and in contrast to the fast-paced action, I've also enjoyed the very rare moments when the hero has found himself developing feelings for a female character or there's been some other more emotional side plot. These moments tend to throw the MC off more than chasing down terrorists, and it's really interesting. By reading books with dominating male characters, you might be able to mine for some ideas for your own story.

    You know what's funny? When the controlling alpha male makes bad decisions and chaos ensues. :D
     
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