Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alpha, Beta, or Somewhere Between?

The alpha male has long been the gold standard in romance. His take-charge attitude and leadership skills often set him apart from his beta side-kick. Oddly enough, it’s the beta side-kick who often provides the comedic relief a romance needs. His affable, laid-back nature is the perfect counterpoint to the alpha’s macho tendencies.

Given this, can a beta make a good hero? Some authors have given this starring role to a beta and pulled it off. People in the real world come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities, so why should romance be any different? If using the right tools, an author can convince readers that anything is possible--even a shy hero who stutters in the presence of the heroine.

But are the alpha and beta designations always clear and concrete? What is alpha to one person may not be so to another. The definition is fluid and can change according to person, place, or thing (I'm channeling the definition of a noun here). Can a hero be a mixture of both alpha and beta depending on situation and place? I think so.

Which kind of hero do you prefer--alpha, beta, or somewhere in between?


Sheri Fredricks said...

Hi Lisa~ I'm an Alpha girl all the way. I've read a few Beta stories, but they never grabbed me the same way. Yes, we all come programmed different, but when it comes to fiction, my fantasy world is a little more narrowed down.

Brenda said...

Hey there, Lisa. I like a bit of both--a good mixture between the two. I love parts of the alpha, but I also like parts of the beta. Hmmm, we should make up a new word that means both. How about bepha, hehehe?

Lisa Kumar said...

Thanks for the comments, Brenda and Sheri! In romance novels, alphas have always caught my attention, but I will admit some beta side-kicks aren't far behind.

I like that, Brenda--bepha!