Do you know what Alphas are? They are heroes in romance novels. Alphas are your take-charge men, strong, sure, and confident in their decisions, style, and--above all else--capabilities in the bedroom. Alphas have manly jobs, like firefighter, police officer, lumberjack, CEO, and deer hunter. They don't worry about their hair; they worry about saving the world, their company, or the woman they love from evil-doers (often at the same time). There's no room for doubt in their world. They are red-blooded American men, although we will make exceptions for nobility from just about any country in the world. They are leaders. We can't help but follow them because they're just so damn manly.
Personally, I can't stand them. Alphas--in real life--are all too often obnoxious, overbearing, unwilling to compromise know-it-all bosses of the world. They grate on my nerves and drive me bonkers--and never, ever, in the romance-novel kind of way.
This is sort of a problem, because I write romance novels, where Alphas rule and all others need not apply for hero status. I was recently informed that a hero of mine--who I considered to be quite the Alpha--was, in fact, emasculated to the point that he was anything but an Alpha. He didn't sleep with enough women, start enough bar fights, and pursue the heroine with a single-minded focus. Instead, he was conflicted, unsure of himself (at least until the heroine restored all his confidence), and only punched one person.
Not only that, my heroine was actually the true Alpha in the book. She took no crap, didn't let anyone get in her way, and rode bulls, for God's sake. (In all honesty, that heroine has NOTHING on the current one in terms of being the top dog in the book.)
This did not work, I was told.
So now I find myself having to think a lot more about a male personality type that actually turns me off. I'm already reworking the WIP (you remember that means "Work in Progress," right?) to make my hero more irritating--I mean hunky--and my heroine weaker--I mean more gentle.
Have you ever noticed the subheader on this blog? "...you are a tremendous writer. I have no idea how you're going to pull it all together..." Yeah. There's a reason it's up there.
I may be a tremendous writer, but days like these remind me that I have no idea what I'm really doing and even less of an idea how I'm going to pull it all together.
But I'm going to keep trying until I get it right.