You won’t have one if you don’t have the other. Assuring that both these aspects are in place will guarantee that you have an invested reader.
I had to remind myself of this today. Writing the alpha male is a challenging job and sometimes, if you’re not careful, you can cross a line that is tough to recover from. I hate that. So, what will I revisit as go through my revisions? The recipe for a *fun* Bad Boy – here it is:
Give him a dash of humor, a pinch of arrogance, a sprinkle of dominance, a dollop of strength and infuse all this with a good measure of integrity and honor. These ingredients, successfully combined, create a man who knows and understands power. That’s sexy!
BUT, for a well-rounded story, this alone (nailing his character) is not enough. I mean, even though he’s powerful and to-die-for, a writer must remember that the hero’s heroine needs to be unique and worthy – otherwise it saps his deliciousness away, right?
Imagine this scene: Hero and villain fighting. The heroine is wringing her hands in the corner, cringing and wincing, until the hero lands one final bone-crunching punch that knocks the dastardly fellow to the ground. The hero steps over the bad guy, pulls the heroine into his arms and gently kisses her brow before he asks: “Are you okay?”
Um, what? Wasn’t the hero the one getting all banged up and now bleeding all over the place? Sheesh!
Now, imagine the same scene, only: Hero takes on the villain while the heroine struggles to get free from the binding ropes that the bad guy had tied her with. She’s nearly free. The hero is holding his own with the villain, but then the bad guy’s girlfriend enters with a gun and the atmosphere suddenly changes. The hero and villain stop tussling because the bad ass girlfriend has an itchy trigger finger and she’s ready to use it. The hero is looking for a way around this new threat, the villain is trying not to get caught in the cross-fire while the heroine calmly walks up behind the bad ass girlfriend and clips her on the side of her head with her broken six-hundred-and-seventy-five dollar Manolo Blahnik pumps that the villain’s gal had spitefully destroyed earlier.
Thus: Three birds killed with one stone. The heroine saved the moment, got her revenge against the bitch who broke her favorite shoes and managed to prove to the hero that the price she paid for those stunning stilettos was worth it after all. <-Hey, if you can milk it – why not?
Okay, so my goal this morning, is to remind myself and anyone else writing a strong alpha male character: Make sure your hero and heroine are equals in solving the external conflict. Because, really, what could be sexier than a larger than life hunk equally matched by the woman he’s chosen to love?
Okay, today my CP partner has an awesome rant going @JAMIGOLD.COM. Check it out. Just to give you a little prelude: It’s about how the romance genre is the redheaded stepchild in the publishing industry. And, if you believe her – and I do, she’s mad as hell and ain’t going to take it anymore!
Things to consider before reading her delicious rant. Writing is a tough business. And, although romance writing is often considered ‘easy money,’ it does requires the same hard work, learning, honing of skills, and a deep level of commitment and sacrifice – the same as any other genre out there. So why is it dissed so regularly by mass media? Maybe it’s undeserving because it has very little market share and readership? Um, nope. Romance novels make up about 50 percent of sales of all mass market fiction. Hmm…interesting – maybe it’s just men that are–? Well, no, it’s not just men who belittle the industry – it’s women too. Shame on them! But hey, Jami covers this beautifully so I’ll leave the yelling up to her. I just love the way her cheeks get all red when she screams.