Anyone else tired of Arrogant Alpha Heroes?

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Rizzo

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It's been almost a year since I last posted here, and since then I've taken a writing for romance class, bought more writing books, joined an online critique group and am now in my last weeks of school.

Anyway, all through that I've noticed something. The Hero's are always tough guys that get what they want because they are either rich and sexy, a dangerous Vampire and sexy, or a medieval lord and sexy.

I'm not talking about having a weak willed guy keeping his head down with a female dom, but when I wrote my next book I did it with the idea that this guy wouldn't walk around with his chest puffed out all the time, though he could still handle himself when needed. But that seems to be the problem in my story. My critique partners are saying that any medieval lord had to be a dominant alpha in order to protect his lands, and I can understand this and have made a few changes to hopefully buff him up enough so that they're satisfied, but does an alpha hero who knows how to handle himself have to be an arrogant jerk?

What do you think?
 

nessam

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I actually get very frustrated with arrogant jerk alpha heroes. I think most people are not really like that and if they are no one really likes them. I think it is fine to have more natural qualitites in characters.
 

Higgins

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It's been almost a year since I last posted here, and since then I've taken a writing for romance class, bought more writing books, joined an online critique group and am now in my last weeks of school.

Anyway, all through that I've noticed something. The Hero's are always tough guys that get what they want because they are either rich and sexy, a dangerous Vampire and sexy, or a medieval lord and sexy.

I'm not talking about having a weak willed guy keeping his head down with a female dom, but when I wrote my next book I did it with the idea that this guy wouldn't walk around with his chest puffed out all the time, though he could still handle himself when needed. But that seems to be the problem in my story. My critique partners are saying that any medieval lord had to be a dominant alpha in order to protect his lands, and I can understand this and have made a few changes to hopefully buff him up enough so that they're satisfied, but does an alpha hero who knows how to handle himself have to be an arrogant jerk?

What do you think?

Writing strickly as an arrogant jerk, I would say nothing beats an arrogant jerk....not even a real tough guy since they aren't used to being indirect and any arrogant jerk is using his arrogant jerkiness as a cover for several other approaches. I say stick with arrogant jerks.
 

Jersey Chick

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I think there's a difference between arrogant vs arrogant jerk. A guy can be arrogant without being a jerk, simply because of power. When it's coupled with a sense of entitlement, you run the risk of jerkiness.

In one of my WIP, the hero is arrogant but that comes from power. He's a decent guy, but he's arrogant. He doesn't have the sense of entitlement because though he inherited his power, he doesn't really want it. And not wanting it, but having no choice, makes him a lot more human. Ergo, a lot less jerkier.
 

smlgr8

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I love arrogant alpha medieval heroes. That being said, I agree with Jersey Chick that doesn't equate "jerk".

On the other hand...one of my favorite medieval heroes was a muscular hero who could be arrogant but he was also gentle and patient and well-read which he needed to be for his wild, crazy, heroine who'd already murdered one husband, LOL.

It just depends, really.
 

veinglory

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Alphas are still the norm, and most of them are from my subjective POV also jerks, thugs or just idiots.

But I suspect the writer of non-alpha men would be as out of luck as the potential reader. It just isn't done.

sigh.
 

Marian Perera

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Alphas are still the norm, and most of them are from my subjective POV also jerks, thugs or just idiots.

But I suspect the writer of non-alpha men would be as out of luck as the potential reader. It just isn't done.

I don't know... Pamela Morsi's and Lorraine Heath's heroes strike me as being strong without being the dominating alpha type. But you're right in that alphas seem to be the norm. I don't mind them as long as the heroine is strong enough to hold her own and stand up to them, but I don't pick up novels where the heroine is a virgin while the hero has tons of experience, or where she's a secretary while he's the billionare owner of the company.
 

veinglory

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I find it next to impossible to find romances between true equals in power. If she is a stromng cop he goes one step further to be a vampire or a millionaire and still be able to loom over her.

Personally I like SNAGs, or even man-damsels.
 

Jersey Chick

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I have no problem with Alphas (I don't think I've created a hero who wasn't alpha :D) as long as they aren't complete a-holes about it. I like the idea of a heroine strong enough to hold her own, and who eventually wins by softening him up a little.
 

aliajohnson

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Count me in on the alpha doesn't necessarily equate with jerk side. A good alpha male isn't just powerful--he's admirable. He isn't attractive simply because he has power, he's attractive because he knows how to use that power very, very well.

If a male character has gobs of strength and he's using it be a jerk, well then, I'd say he'd make an excellent antagonist. But I wouldn't want him anywhere near my female MC.

Just my humble opinion. :)
 

Chasing the Horizon

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Alpha heroes are fine sometimes, but I get sick of reading them all the time, and sometimes they really do come off as arrogant jerks.

A medieval lord doesn't have to be alpha. Most of my heroes are beta or omega, and they're all pirate captains on my fantasy world. They keep control over their ships because their crews love and respect them, not because they fear them (and because my heroes pull brilliant heists which make the crews very rich). A lord could keep control over his lands in the same manner. Most of my heroes are very intelligent and master manipulators, which gets you farther than alpha arrogance and an overblown tough guy act in just about any culture. Besides, if my heroes took an attitude, the group of warrior women they hang around with would slit their throats :D

I like to both read and write matches between true equals. That means that if I write an alpha hero, I match him with an alpha heroine. Likewise, my more mild mannered heroes are with the sweeter women. Beta/beta matches are very interesting because you don't have the built-in conflict of one person trying to control and dominate the other, so you have to get more creative with your conflicts.
 

aliajohnson

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Most of my heroes are beta or omega, and they're all pirate captains on my fantasy world. They keep control over their ships because their crews love and respect them, not because they fear them (and because my heroes pull brilliant heists which make the crews very rich). A lord could keep control over his lands in the same manner. Most of my heroes are very intelligent and master manipulators, which gets you farther than alpha arrogance and an overblown tough guy act in just about any culture..

Your heroes sound like alphas to me. Unless they're taking orders from someone else? Besides your female MCs of course. :D
 

Stlight

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The alpha males in romances tended to make me want to slap the heroine for being willing to keep seeing them and more so when she forgave him his arrogance and went off into the sunset or dawn with him. Several books went flying across the room. These alpha males didn’t even have the redeeming features of the alpha dog in a pack. The alpha in a dog pack isn’t rude. As near as I can tell a bunch of men went out read these books and decided being rude, belittling and telling women what they want and believe will get them laid.

So I quit reading romances for 15, yes, 15 years.

I’ve begun reading a few of the Harlequin hearth home and beta males, who are more alpha males IMO than the ones noted as such. But then I like the Next, Nocturne and Luna series the best of the Harlequin sets. I miss the Duets and look for books heavy on fun, which automatically means no alpha males - apparently.

Who needs to day dream about jerks, who refuse to not tell you how you think and feel? All you have to do is step out your door and there they are.

Stlight
 

Cathy C

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Keep in mind too that a leader often has a "public" face and a "private" one. Many of the top leaders know that they must come across to the public as appearing in complete control, will brook no dissent and tolerate no slander. But in private, that same man often listens closely to key advisors, spends long hours weighing the situation and finally appears back "in front of the curtain" with a pronouncement that can seem very much the arrogant jerk.

I tend of think of Supreme Court Justices for guidance when considering my Alphas. They get the benefit of writing down their opinions for the world to see, but even if they didn't, the thought behind the act is still there---and the mental/emotional struggle still remains that can be shown in private dialogue. I think that even someone like Donald Trump, who can appear every bit the arrogant jerk in public, didn't get to the top without the mental and emotional struggles behind the curtain. It's all in how you write it. It can be a lot of fun to watch a hero or heroine discover that they were all wrong about someone they believed was arrogant and jerky, but who really isn't. :)
 

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Just echoing Cathy's post. I don't like stories where the hero is a one-dimensional alpha, but I love stories where the alpha part is one side of a multi-faceted personality (in my experience, this mirrors reality). Many times, being in a powerful position forces someone to play the "bad guy" role at times, both at work and at home. I find that the most interesting conflicts arise when the heroine is too quick to judge the hero, and vice versa, based on limited information. Jumping to conclusions about someone creates all sorts of fun misunderstandings that can drive a story.
 

ZannaPerry

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I just finished up a book where the alpha hero was described very sexy, rich (successful lawyer) who could get any girl he wanted. BUT, all the women who wanted him only wanted his money, never him. And when he finally found the woman of his dreams, a woman who liked him for him and not the money, she turned him down. But you know how all romances turn out, they end up getting back together, married, etc....

I'd say that hero described isn't your usual Alpha male, because through out the book he definitely changed from big male ego to getting down on his knees begging for the woman to love him.

My next book, I am trying to get away from the usual Alpha hero, so I totally understand, Rizzo.
 

Rizzo

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Hmm, everyone seems to have great ideas of what does and doesn't make someone an arrogant jerk, but Cathy C you brought up something to me that I didn't think of, that's the public and private image, and Hope to the Horizon, I'm so glad you said that not all Medieval Lords are Alpha's, makes me feel a little better about my own Hero. :) And I gues as long as the Hero and Heroine's do a little spiritual growing then everything should be fine, thanks Suzy B
 

batgirl

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While Georgette Heyer did have alpha heroes, she also had gentle or even foolish heroes. Look at the hero of The Foundling, of Cotillion, or Freddie in Friday's Child. And Heyer is still being published and read.
While Elizabeth Peters has Radcliffe Emerson, who is pretty damn alpha (although the story takes the mickey out of him in various ways) she also had less dominant heroes in several of her contemporary romances, like The Camelot Caper.
Also, what part of the Middle Ages? Lords held their lands because they inherited them and because the King was backing them up. It was perfectly possible for a lord (and other ranks) to be foolish, feeble, poorly-advised, etc. and still keep his place, because rising against him was the same as rising against the king. Kings don't like that. But anyways, 'medieval' covers such a wide and ill-defined period that it's risky to make any generalisation about it - even though I just did.
-Barbara
 

smlgr8

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Personally, I like Alphas - I'll take Rhett Butler over Ashley Wilkes any day. :D

I'm with you! Although I wouldn't choose either guy from GWTW (not a fan). But give me the alpha any time. Not to mention it is entirely possible for an alpha to be sensative too.

Of course, I write Alphas and almost Alphas (LOL).:)
 

Marian Perera

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Personally, I like Alphas - I'll take Rhett Butler over Ashley Wilkes any day. :D

I know what you mean. The hero of my fantasy novel was inspired in some ways by Rhett Butler - he understood the heroine and was protective of her, but he didn't take any dishonesty or passive-aggressive behavior from her either. Rhett was a great hero.

I'm trying to think of the alphas I can't stand. The ones who force themselves on women, usually. I don't care if her treacherous body is betraying her; if she's saying no, stop. And the type who distrust all women because their ex-wife cheated on them. Or the ones who seduce the heroine, realize this is the closest they'll ever come to True Love, end it for whatever reason, go off and boink other women until they realize that this is a Poor Substitute for True Love, and then go back to the heroine. She, of course, has been chaste in the guy's absence, because the promiscuity that the hero can indulge in would sully the heroine forever. So she takes him back, newly acquired STDS and all.

I don't mind both of them doing it safely with someone else, but the double standard really irritates me.
 

Rizzo

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I'm trying to think of the alphas I can't stand. The ones who force themselves on women said:
newly acquired STDS and all[/s].

LOL!!!!! XD I cracked up when I read that.

BTW, my time period is 1311, four years after Edward the first.
 
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