The heroes of the romance novels are always the ones we hear people talk about. But the real question I want to ask is: What makes them hot?
I do believe that writers seem to have missed the point when it comes to the “hot” heroes and much of this stems from the issue of Alpha and Beta males. As I got ready to write this today, I did a quick search to see what people thought of Alpha males. In every case, the term “mach” seemed to arise. But then, as you read further into their descriptions, all of the so-called characteristics were related to job and activities but not the personalities. Delta Force commanders named Jake Strong (sounds like one of those Rescue Heroes my son played with), fire fighters that run around with their shirt off and the like. I think this was a key point to notice. Making a character hot does not mean making them stereotypical.
If you have been reading lately, several publishers are now making a call for more Beta like heroes. Now, again, when I reviewed the research this morning, the definition associated with Beta hero was “wimp and geek”. This is far from the idea. I think that what the publishers are really looking for are heroes that can be masculine but don’t have to be the over-the-top caricatures we have seen lately. Heroes can be hot and not in “extreme jobs”.
Take a look at the following characteristics:
1. Behavior - The alpha male presents himself in a way that shows others they are not to question or challenge his position. He stands out as a smart, strong individual who has it altogether. From the way he walks to stands, to communicates, his behavior is that of control.
- Body Language - The body language of the alpha male is very noticeable. While some are muscular, most men in this category are fit. He enters the room with an undisputable confidence and almost courage. His movements are slow and deliberate. While standing tall, the alpha male is also friendly but does not like to be bothered with inconveniences.
- Territorial - Once the alpha male has established his territory, he will remain there until he is ready to leave. However, he does not guard the space with his presence. Instead, he is relaxed but stands firm. The alpha male has no problem looking any man in the eyes to let him know he is in control. Additionally, this territorial behavior shows the females that he is a real contender for her attention.
- Assertive - This does not mean the alpha male gets into fights but he is dynamic, mature, and finds it easy to socialize. When approached by men and women, the alpha male is not passive. Instead, he will communicate in a clear, concise manner.
- Courage - Without doubt, the alpha male is courageous, meaning his is willing to take on any problem to reach resolution without worry.
- Persistence - Once the alpha male has his sights set on something, he will work hard to achieve it. This applies to business, family, friends, and of course relationships. The key is that the alpha male is determined without being aggressive or manipulative. He uses his position of control and concentration to get the job done.
Now, when I reviewed this list, in no way did these people identify the jock vs. geek idea. Your characters can be regular people and still be hot. Writers can simply focus on making their characters appealing to people. I guess I think of Newland Archer from Age of Innocence. Very appealing and yet far from the jock character.
See what you can do with that one. Let me know what you think a hot hero really is?
Scott C. Eagan