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Alpha Villains: Love to Love Them
Currently, I am in the developmental stages of a new series centered around antiheroes. I love antiheroes—those bad boys that do wrong, but often for the right reasons. Or at least reasons we can find relatable.
Writers inherently give heroes great strengths. They must. It’s the law. Well, not really. But if writers don’t give the hero traits that help them prevail, they wouldn’t be heroes. Just lucky. Villains can possess skills that match or exceed that of the hero. He may be cunning, have exceptional brawn or scary ninja moves. Whatever his weakness—greed, gluttony, pride, lust, beef jerky—the hero exposes it and uses it to his advantage, ultimately defeating the scoundrel. Most of the time, anyway.
Memorable heroes are almost always Alpha. What makes an Alpha? According to Dictionary.com, an Alpha is the “highest rank in a dominance hierarchy”. So what qualities does an Alpha possess? He/she is powerful, self-confident, passionate, physically fit, assertive, knows the power of the spoken word, and fights to defend, not destroy. With awesomeness like that, a hero can’t fail.
But wait! What if we gave the villain the same qualities. Holy guacamole, things just got interesting and the threat they pose rises exponentially. Even more if the heroine’s heart is at stake. Just as with the hero, the baddie’s confidence and strengths make him all but guaranteed a victory.
Any traits, action, or dialogue that might be used with a protagonist, employ them on the malefactor. An ultimatum delivered with a calm, almost friendly tone. A wicked grin after the heroine slaps him across his face. The vows made while digging a bullet from his flesh with a knife. Saving an animal or child from certain tragedy. Set these examples to both the hero and the villain. The writer will see it works either way. The difference, and there is a difference, is weaving Alpha traits, actions, and dialogue in with the hero or villain’s own natural tendencies, motivation, and goals. Talk about shades of gray!
Alpha villains are even more dangerous when a dash or good looks and seduction are at play. This is especially bad for the heroine. She is fallible, after all. Good grief, who wouldn’t be weak-kneed when the Alpha villain is utilizing his supreme powers of persuasion. He brazenly stands naked in all his sexy glory for her, or anyone else, to see. He whispers words of temptation along her neck. His eyes burn with desire as he fills all breathable space. His touch is possessive but gentle, rough but sweet, intoxicating. Thank you sir, may I have another?
The Alpha villain doesn’t have to be yummy to be Alpha. His characteristics can make him as unappealing as the author would like. The layers of complexity are all in the details.
Can you name an Alpha villain? Do you have a favorite that you find appetizing? My pick is Achilles. Leave a comment on your fav. Alpha villain. One lucky commenter will receive a $5 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of KITTY KITTY, BANG BANG. I ‘ll draw on the last day. Every commenter is also entered to win our grand prize, a $25 gift card to ALL Romance eBooks.
Prizes from all the Nice Girls up for grabs:
- Leela Lou Dahlin, her NaNoWriMo novel, Rumor Has It
- Ella Sheridan: $10 Gift Card for Amazon
- A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder: Copy of Sealed By Fire (or choice of backlist)
- Angel Payne: Free e-copy of either No Prince Charming or No More Masquerade
- Harlowe Wilde: e-copy of Kitty Kitty Bang Bang & $5 Amazon gift card
- Dani Wade: Choice of one of her backlist books
- Nona Raines: e-copy of Her Perfect Man and Don’t Let Go (or another of her backlist)
- Tina Christopher: one of her books
- Dakota Trace: prize to be determined
- Lara Archer: $10 Amazon e-gift card
- Taige Crenshaw: $10 All Romance ebook e-gift card