It’s Week 19 of the MFRW 52 Week Blog Challenge, and this week’s prompt is “The Ideal Romance Hero” which leads me to ask Alpha Male or Nice Guy?
I’m sure all of you have your own ideas about this question, but I think there’s room for different kinds of heroes. Like a lot of things in life, one size doesn’t fit all, and not every romance plot calls for an alpha male.
In the Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFeber, and Sue Viders, the authors analyze eight hero and eight heroine archetypes and how they interact with each other. This is one of my favorite writing tool to help with character development.
The eight male archetypes are the Chief, the Bad Boy, the Best Friend, the Lost Soul, the Charmer, the Professor, the Swashbuckler and the Warrior. The Chief and the Warrior are definitely alpha males, and the Best Friend is a beta. The others, I’m not sure, but all seem to be valid hero archetypes.
The Bad Boy is a fun archetype to write and fun to read about, though not always in real life. Can a bad boy be tamed outside romance novels? I think so. My dad was a bad boy until he grew up and married and had children. But in his youth, he was always in trouble, and he never took orders readily. He raised his only daughter to think for herself and stand up to unfairness, maybe because life is seldom fair for the bad boy. As a kid he was always the first one blamed if something happened in the neighborhood, and he was demoted twice in the Army! So I gotta love those bad boys, like Johnny in Dirty Dancing. Big sigh. And Jacques Corbeau, the bastard hero of my historical romance, Rogue’s Hostage.
Warriors can range from military men to crusaders for justice, as shown by the Sir Rolf, the werewolf knight of Ilona’s Wolf, and Stephen Chaplin, the crusading barrister of Lady Elinor’s Escape. Both are honorable men but fight in very different ways.
The Charmer is another fun archetype to write. King Calloway of Lily and the Gambler was largely inspired by Bret Maverick as played by James Garner. King can charm his way out of nearly any situation, but has a commitment problem. A recent review described him as “enticingly rakish.”
In short, for me there’s no one ideal hero. What do you think?
Click on the linky list below for more ideal hero posts in the #MFRWauthor 52-Week Blog Challenge.
I totally agree, Linda! It’s fun to see a bad boy transformed, but those beta guys who are devoted from the start are fun to read also.
I always enjoy a bit of variety in my reading.
Having a little bit of each in your hero makes for a well rounded guy I think. Sometimes you want a little bad boy, but they have to be a charmer to win over the female. A lot of thought and care has to go into creating that ‘perfect’ male.
Mika, you’re right that a lot of care goes into creating those perfect characters. And sometimes they have minds of their own.
It sounds as though Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines is a good resource; I’ll keep my eyes open for it. I like how it broadens the possibilities beyond Nice Guy as opposed to Alpha bastard.
It’s one of my favorite character resources. There’s a book on villains, too.
Good post. I haven’t written a charmer yet, but you’re right, Maverick is a great example.
I loved Maverick. I had such a crush on him!