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For Writers: Alpha Males and Other Character Stereotypes

diversity hands

Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Aidee Ladnier:

Why so many alpha males? Where is the diversity of main characters?

I’d extend this out past the subject as stated. Yes, we have a glut of alpha male characters – especially on the romance side of speculative fiction (and maybe especially in shifter books?). But we also have a preponderance of cute young white male characters.

But I’d also argue that a lot of our fiction, romance, and otherwise, lacks diversity. Diversity of orientation, of gender, of color, and of ability.

Are readers ready for more? As a reader, are there certain types of characters you look for but rarely find? What are some of your favorite books that defied character stereotypes, alpha and otherwise?

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2 thoughts on “For Writers: Alpha Males and Other Character Stereotypes”

  1. I’m not a fan of this stereotype. Being an alpha can be interesting, but limiting to just males, trapping it within a certain physicality and gender is boring. The truly interesting characters transcend such limits, going beyond the box of such stereotypes, so to speak. :)

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  2. I agree with KS. I ‘get’ the lean toward the alpha male within the shifter genre, but, as in all genres, it’s just way more interesting when someone can break out of the typical formula and stereotype. And I admit I’m guilty on lacking diversity as well, but it’s something that at least I’m aware of now and I’m finding having broader horizons is fun!
    Though I have to say that I think I’m not alone when I say it often times feels like I may not be a good enough writer, or have the depth of experience, to cover more diverse characters. it’s that fear of “What if I get it wrong? What if I offend someone because my own perspective is limited?” But I’m still trying, and I do wish more publishers took into account the diversity of their audience so that when stories that exemplify that come along, they’d pay more attention, take them on, and promote them!

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