Monday, May 22, 2006

Viva Les Bitches!!

It's Smart Bitches Day again, as it is every Monday so make sure you be nice to the smart bitch in your life, because you know she'll get you if you don't and you won't like it when she does. So there. And be sure you love up our gorgeous Beth, because someone (Asshat Barry the pimple popper) was mean to her and she's still fuming. She's Awesome - show her you think so too, or I'll get my stick...

PirateWenchOk, well after lots of rude interruptions from the brain last week where it came up with too many ideas for SBD, I've decided to have a wee rant about something completely different. It's my blog so I can, so there. I talking Alpha, all Alpha gimme the Alpha!

I'm concerned over the lack of Alpha Heroines in romance novels - or at least the one's I've read. When writing the heroines, there's a few types: The alpha who turns beta when faced with her hero's intense alphaness, the beta who turns alpha because she finally gets a spine, and the idiot who kind of trips about into catastrophe and the alpha hero has to save her but she resents his every attempt (so she has a spine but it's plastic and bendy). Of course, there's more and you can add them in if you want.

When writing an alpha hero, he is almost always: Strong willed, confident, structured, consistent and determined. He knows his mind, what he wants and how he'll get it. Any obstacle thrown in his path, and he'll hurdle over it, walk around it or smash it to bits. Alpha heroines on the other hand always change tact. They become insecure, or they second guess themselves into a terrible predicament; she is the one who makes the wrong decision and can't find her way out of it - Mr. Manly has to save her. Why can't the alpha heroine be written with the same sturdy toughness as an alpha hero? Why is she always the one who has to back step?

In the animal world, it's alpha male/alpha female, they have certain traits that put them at the top of the pack - the alpha male doesn't go whoring about with his other females, and the alpha female doesn't whimper about anything to those beneath her. Women are often written with more dialogue, less narrative and if she's revealing herself, or her vulnerability it's almost always verbalized. Do the alpha heroes do this? No, because admitting a weakness is unacceptable. So why does she? BTW, being an "Alpha Heroine" does not mean monarch_381

My all time favourite fictional character (aside from Xena) is Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone but if you've read the series (which, OMG started back in 1983) you have to agree that even a small setback put her right back on the line with even more fire than before. She's not romantic, she's not that way inclined for very long, anyway. Now, if we could somehow take Kinsey, and put her into a romance novel - there's a winner! But what kind of man will it take to secure her heart and love? Well certainly not a warm hearted, soft spoken SUV driving beta-boy. Alpha has to go with alpha it's the only way to make the heroine genuine and not have her fall into the "Too Stupid To Live" category. So if you don't have her making lots of dumb mistakes, and you don't have him making lots of dumb mistakes, where do you get your story? Where do you find your conflict? Why, in your antagonists of course, who should be alpha too, and of the head butting bull sort. That's where story craft comes in. If you can create a brilliant story, where the two main characters are alpha, passionate and maybe have different ideas about how to resolve the antagonist's threat - can we please let her win, once in a while?

Also, I'm not saying that she should be flawless. That's ridiculous, because everyone has faults, and quirks and things that may annoy another person. Being alpha does not mean being perfect - in fact the pursuit of perfectionism is a weakness. They must be true to character, they must be diligent and they must always want better, they strive for the good even if it's only for the good of themselves. Alphas can be selfish, in fact it's almost a pre-requisite.

Here's just a couple of things I've come across that irk me about pseudo-alpha heroines:

1) If she is full-figured do not give her an eating disorder, in fact as far as she is concerned, she's hot, and if you don't like her then tough shit for you. She should never be on a diet and simpering about her waistline. That's not alpha.

2) If she is a rock hard super fighting machine, she can not lose her fire and spark because she's not sure if the hero really has feeling for her. Buffy was undone by Angel, The Charmed sisters have each been undone by their unsure love of their own heroes, and as a result make stupid mistakes. This should not happen - alpha heroines should not mope and get caught unawares.

3) She doesn't cringe or cower away from trouble, she isn't one to slink off in an attempt to not be noticed; she faces a problem head on and not only is she able to save herself from danger, but she can save the hero as well.

4) An Alpha Heroine is Feminine! She should retain her woman-ness at all times. No one would call Princess Leia, Scarlett O'hara or Princess Fiona (you know, from Shrek) butch. No more tomboys turned girlie-girls. An alpha is what she is take her or leave her.

5) They are confident in bed, they love to make love and they are good at it. They don't have to have too much experience, perhaps she was a smart bitch and learned a few tricks from trashy novels. Smart Bitches read, and she'll give as good as she gets.

So, be true to your alphas, don't break them down and make them wishy-washy or insipid. I'll just not read your books if you do this to me her. But if you give me good alpha, I'm your loyal reading slave forever, and I'll hand over my chequebook for every tome you offer. I've certainly read every Millhone book, and I'll cry when Sue Grafton reaches "Z".

9 comments:

Kate R said...

Great SBD.

Just for you lyvvie. I'm going to post an alpha girl cover on my blog.

Kate R said...

Feel free to steal it from my blog. I sent it to Candy at SBTB because the more people who see it. . umm, er...the more it will be seen!

Lyvvie said...

Aw, thanks a bunch Kate! I was a bit concerned becaue I was saying "Hero" and "Heroine" a lot, but that's because I really don't like it when people talk about other people as male and female - like we're animals or something. I like men and women, hero and heroine and if people can't determine the sex from that, then they need to back to school.

So, awesome, thanks!

Lyvvie said...

Ok, I liked it so much, I added another one. Teehee!!

Suisan said...

Great post!

The tomboy turned girlie girl really bothers me. I'm not that into makeup and hairstyles, but I'm not a tomboy either, but I say what I think. Can't find too many "girls" in romances like that.

And the pirate cover rules

chryscat said...

I have a really Alpha character in my Detective series. But my romance? None of them are hardcore. I have one who definitely sticks up for herself and tells the hero how it is. She's a great lot of fun. I can see your point.
Grins*

SafeTinspector said...

I married an alpha!
:)

Maja said...

Yay for Alpha Heroines! I like the sound of your alpha heroine.

Lyvvie said...

SafT I think you should make that into a badge to wear on your jaket "I married an Alpha!"