Alpha vs Beta

» Posted on Feb 15, 2006 in Blog | Comments Off on Alpha vs Beta

Which hero type do you like–an alpha one or a beta one? On one of my loops someone asked this question which prompted me to stop and think about what kind of heroes I write. I love to write and read about an alpha hero: the danger, mystery and “bad boy” persona. But then I love to write and read romantic suspense and an alpha hero fits well in those type of books. He’s right beside the heroine trying to save someone’s life or solve some crime.

But the other side of me loves some of the qualities of a beta hero: the friend, the guy next door, the confidant. So somewhere I heard the term gamma hero for a mix of both the alpha and beta. If there is such a thing, that is probably what I like the best.

That aside, there are some stories that are better with an alpha hero than a beta and the reverse is true, of course. You need to write the hero that fits the plot and your female character. I haven’t written too many stories with a pure beta hero (not true about the alpha hero, however). I seem to infuse a few alpha characteristics into my beta character. I see the beta hero more in the books where I am emphasizing friendship between the hero and heroine.

It’s funny how we like to label certain types of heroes. Notice how we don’t usually do that with the heroine. I personally don’t like to put a label on my heroes. To do that is to put him into a box marked alpha, beta or whatever. I like to think our heroes are complex enough not to fit neatly into a box.

What kind of hero do you like? Alpha? Beta? Gamma? No label–just certain descriptions?