When I create characters, I don't think in terms of labels. I don't say, okay, I need an alpha male or a beta male; I just create a human being. I think about the environment my character was raised in and let their upbringing play an important part in establishing their personality. There are quite a few personality traits we're born with so I start with that base and then let experiences mold them.
It’s easy to love reading about a sexy alpha hero, but all of us can use a little help in writing one. For all you aspiring authors out there draw your attention to a blog event Kate Walker featured on her website called All About Alphas in April 14th - May 2009. (See
She wrote, “The alpha doesn’t get to his position if life by trampling weaker people under foot, he isn’t totally lacking in charm or generosity or a sense of humor. He doesn’t act brutally, ruthlessly, relentlessly except when the circumstances demand it of him, when he can see no other possible choice, when the only strategy is one that he feels he has no alternative but to follow because of the way that the challenge is presented to him. This is how he feels he, with his personal code of honor, must act - and that personal code may give him the conviction that he’s on the right path – at first - but as he goes through the story that conviction is challenged and has to adjust, adapt and finally be thrown overboard as he realizes that he is working from the wrong page.
He is not anti-women, or cruel for the sake of it. He is in a situation where he may have to act that way in the circumstances. The information he has been given about the woman he is dealing with – his heroine – may be flawed, inaccurate – but he believes it is right and that he is justified in acting on it.” (See http://www.kate-walker.com/ for more details.)
So here’s what I know about people, we have beliefs and values that control how we live our lives. The so-called alpha men in the Sherdian Series values freedom and adventure over security and safety. In fact, Latrell sees security as something to stay away from. To him, security might mean being tied down. And confinement or loss of independence is pretty scary to someone who's learned to depend solely on himself.
In the same vain, Graham, another Sheridan alpha male, sees openness and emotional sharing as other values to avoid. He has learned through experience to believe that being emotional -- to reveal his emotions -- is often viewed as being weak. So he believes if he reveals his weaknesses, he’ll leave himself open to attack. Either physically, emotionally, financially, whatever -- if he allows his weaknesses to show, he's setting himself up to be hurt. History has validated this theory for him.
For me, alpha males aren’t insensitive. They just have thicker skin that they try very hard to maintain so no one can get too close. And as a writer, it’s so much fun to prove them wrong.
This blog covers novel completion, fellow authors and pop culture