Writing process

The alpha male in action

The first in a two-part blog on writing alpha males

In the romance and adventure genres, in particular, the alpha male is the character everyone seems to want.

The alpha male is a leader. He doesn’t follow others, others follow him. In modern novels he is confident and charismatic. He is also, often, rich. An article over at The Attraction Institute sums it up succinctly:

An Alpha Male is a guy who does what he wants, when he wants it. … [He lives] the life [he] wants, regardless of whether or not other people approve …
How to become an alpha male in two easy steps

Marc ‘Animal’ McYoung over at No Nonsense Self-Defense adds this about them:

… the thing about Alpha males, it isn’t just because you can cut them off at the knees and call them a tripod that makes them Alphas. It is that they can be TRUSTED with power.
Alpha Male in Writing, Part 2, Marc Young

So let’s look at the alpha male in action, and then in part two we’ll see how easy it is to mis-write alpha males.

The alpha male in action

The alpha male’s decisive, top-dog behaviour is there in everything he says and everything he does. Even the little things.

The following is a true story.

I take the train to work every morning. This particular morning the train door wouldn’t open. I had to go down to the next door to get on. As we went through each station I watched others try to open the same door I had, fail, and go down to the next door and enter that way.

As I sat there I studied the door to see what was blocking it. It took four stations, but finally I worked it out.

On the walls of the train we have posters—advertisements, a train map, art. These posters used to be behind glass, but nowadays they’re just printed onto an adhesive plastic and stuck onto the train wall. They stick well, but they’re also relatively easy to peel off, because the posters change on a regular basis.

Someone had carefully pulled off one of these posters and re-stuck it over the sliding door, so that the door wouldn’t open.

Most of us just used the other door and settled into our place as we normally did.

Seven stations in Alpha Male was the man waiting to get in the door. He was immaculately dressed in a mid-grey suit, navy shirt and grey tie. He tried the door, and like everyone else couldn’t get in. He went down to the other door and got on.

Instead of leaving it there, this is where Alpha Male differed from the rest of us.

He came down to look at the door. Not only that, he had worked out what was wrong before the train even left his station. He reached across, loosened a corner, and pulled at the poster with a long, firm pull that ripped it off in one piece.

Problem solved, even as the train pulled away.

This type of see, analyse, act is inherent in every decision the alpha male does, from tiny little things like fixing a ‘broken’ door, to responding to an emergency, to making decisions at work.

As Angela Knight says,

… he knows what’s best, and he’s supremely confident in himself and his abilities. He’s protective, he’s intelligent, and sometimes he can be more than a little ruthless in the pursuit of his goals
The Care and Writing of Alpha Males, Angela Knight

However, because he is so strong, the alpha male is hard to get right.

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, protectiveness and condescension.
The Care and Writing of Alpha Males, Angela Knight


More about that in the next blog.

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