Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments We mentioned how beta-males are great. Now the point is; what makes a beta-male? Can they have elements of alpha-males's personality? When a beta is too clingy or just annoying? Any exmples of beta-males ( excluding Seth from Succubus Blues)?


message 2: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Once again I prefer the term Omega Guy to beta male (but I may be biased here). I find Debra Dixon’s model of citing characters from film rather than books a bit more universal for a forum like this. Films make getting up to speed on a conversation whole lot easier than reading say a few dozen novels. So, my Omega Guy suggestions are:

1) Christian Slater as Adam in “Untamed Heart” and also as Lewis in “Bed of Roses”. Both are withdrawn characters trying to overcome tragic pasts while engaging with equally conflicted and complicated leading ladies.

2) Kevin James as Albert in “Hitch”. A complicated and painfully shy fellow who gets put through the ringer in order to catch the eye of a woman he thinks is out of his league.

3) Johnny Depp as Sam in “Benny and June” and Aidan Quinn as Benjamin in “Benny and June”. Sam struggles with social isolation (as does Benjamin) and dyslexia, while Benny tries to project the Alpha Male persona as he struggles to take care of a mentally ill sister (who doesn’t really need his help).

4) William H. Macey as Bernie in “The Cooler”. Believing he is a Cooler (someone so unlucky they actually suck the luck out of those near them) and forced to work for a Vegas casino thwarting patrons on hot streaks (due to massive gamboling debts), Bernie begins his story as the stereo typical Sad Sack Beta Male. The strength of his true character as reflected in the eyes of his love interest (a call girl hired to keep him tangle up with the Casino) eventually helps him regain his self-respect.

5) Brendan Fraser as Adam in “Blast From The Past”. Adam also projects the Alpha Male persona, but in his case it is an idealized 1950’s Alpha who protects women and children has perfect manners and truly believes that the right side will always win. Again socially isolated (from being raised in a nuclear bomb shelter) Adam has to rely on his leading lady to help him interact with modern day L. A., while also trying to convince her that he really is just a nice guy.

The Omega Guy or Beta Male if you will is just the flip side of the Alpha. His conflict is internal where the Alpha’s tends to be external. His strength tends to be intellectual or emotional (think Jude Law’s character in the “The Holiday” who goes to great lengths to keep his personal and family life separate in order to avoid hurting any of the women/girls in his life). In contrast the Alpha tends to be an act now think later kind of guy (don’t get me wrong I’m all for jumping into the breach – but only as a back-up plan to the redundant system and can't we find a square jawed Alpha to do the jumping bit).

In the end there are plotlines enough for both versions of the romantic hero, but I tend to like the Omega Guy just a little better. Once he’s on the hero’s journey he’ll turn himself inside out before abandoning the quest. I always feel that when the going gets tough the Alpha Male might just as easily pick another target and move on to simpler hunting grounds.


message 3: by John (new)

John Jr. (jnuge16) So, a beta male doesn't pursue a relationship? The doesn't seem right to me.


message 4: by Bitchie (new)

Bitchie (matron) I don't think it's that a beta male doesn't pursue a relationship, but he's less likely to be just balls out over the top in his pursuit of the woman. He's less likely to be so dominant and "mine" about the woman.

The beta male is going to be more quiet, more subdued in his pursuit. He'll send flowers and woo her, not throw her up against the wall and take her.


message 5: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 493 comments Mod
Bitchie wrote: "The beta male is going to be more quiet, more subdued in his pursuit. He'll send flowers and woo her, not throw her up against the wall and take her."

I think this pretty much sums it up. Dominant is a pretty key word in terms of separating an alpha from a beta, IMO.

Succubus Blues is actually a pretty good case study for this. Georgina makes it quite clear to both Roman and Seth that she doesn't date and both men react differently.

Roman's reaction was dominating and self-centered. What do you mean you don't date? I know you want to date me. Surprise I brought you flowers. Surprise I'm tricking you into another date. Surprise I'm throwing you up against the wall.

Seth's reaction was more subdued. Rather than be in her face all the time, he backed off and let her come to him. He showed he was interested by taking care of her while she was wasted/hungover, inviting her to meet his family, sending her e-mails to explain and apologize for his quirks, and generally being there when she needed her.

I would think that Bram (Dearly, Departed), the guy from My Life As a White Trash Zombie (says a lot that I don't remember his name, lol), Valek from Poison Study, and David from Ill Wind could all be classified as beta males. They all have subtle hints about their feelings but were never in the heroine's face about it.

I think a case could be made for Ralston from Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake - he's got a bit of rakish alpha personality but when it comes to Callie he somewhat becomes her protector and she makes the moves.

I would definitely put Joselin in beta land - he was too morally and emotionally too conflicted to make any real advances on Phedre, but you could definitely tell he cared for her.

Interestingly, I can also see a case being made for Fearghus being a beta male. Until Annwyl provoked it, he was consciously trying to avoid having sex with her as the knight. As his dragon self he was always concerned about Annwyl's feelings, because obviously a human can't love a dragon, right? Also the fact that he secluded himself at the end of the book because he felt it would be best for her. Just because a character dominates in the (consensual) bedroom doesn't necessarily mean he's an alpha.


message 6: by Bitchie (new)

Bitchie (matron) Vicky wrote: "Bitchie wrote: "The beta male is going to be more quiet, more subdued in his pursuit. He'll send flowers and woo her, not throw her up against the wall and take her."

I think this pretty much sums..."


As I am always searching for a good beta male, I'll be looking up some of these you listed!


message 7: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 493 comments Mod
I was so worried about focusing on beta males in books I've read that I forgot some of the other one's I've read on my own!

In Siren's Call, Kenneth comes back to find the heroine a year after she saves him from drowning himself in the ocean outside her lighthouse. The book even brings Tessa's alpha ex-fiancee into the picture who tries to stake his claim. Kenneth refuses to fight him in true alpha fashion, rather he lets Tessa know how he feels and lets her come to her own decision about who to pick.

Another one is A Time for Us. It's not really a good book - but it's another example of a guy letting the girl come to him.


message 8: by Rose (new)

Rose (riversideroserevolver) John wrote: "So, a beta male doesn't pursue a relationship? The doesn't seem right to me."

I thought a Beta was a guy who didn't assert himself or act aggressively (either in a positive or negative way). I don't think that means he can't pursue the relationship. I think Betas just go about it differently.

P.S. Read your book. Next time I see you in IRC I'll give you some thoughts I had on it. It was really good, though!


message 9: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (lunakaos) | 165 comments I just picked up Breath of Fire Breath of Fire by Tammy Kane which has a huge role switch with a beta dude and an alpha chick.


message 10: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden This is why I’m proffering and preferring the term Omega. He is the other end of the continuum. He will make the first move it is just going to be a much different one than Alpha’s.

At a wedding Alpha is either going to chase or drag the heroine to the dance floor (it is going to be an interesting scene, but it will be all about her paying attention to him). Omega is going to get her a drink (the right drink because he’s been paying attention). He’s going to ask about her – they’ll talk – their bodies naturally start swaying to the music – They discover a connection. Her favorite song comes on (don’t know how the smooth bastard arranged that). He holds out a hand in invitation. She accepts it and a much different dance begins.

When Alpha challenges the heroine it is face on and often confrontational. “You’ve gotta get over that wall, Little Lady.”. Omega challenges from beside her and is willing to help. “We’ve gotta get over that wall – I’ll boost you to the top and you can pull me up.”


message 11: by Mike (last edited Dec 30, 2012 04:19AM) (new)

Mike | 34 comments Trying to find some bearing on this, i ran across this which provides an intriguing view of the three quantities. Since it's taking the words at face-value, it allows for non-binary options personality options. And let's be honest here, if there's more than "male" and "female", there's going to be more than one personality type.

Now focusing on etymology, the Phoenician/Greek meanings, which might provide some interesting food for thought (pulling from Wikipedia.org, since i'm lacking the books and time) …
* Alpha / alf: ox
* Beta / bet: house
* Omega / o mega: great o (it's last letter in the Greek alphabet)

I think these actually provide accurate parallels for what's seen in the book. Roman is about text-based bull-headed as a person can be; so alpha male. Seth's a solid and sheltering guy, and, at least for Georgina (per Succubus Blues), he's also the end; beta male turned beta omega male.

Okay, back to what i was doing when noticing the notifications.


message 12: by Kamil (last edited Dec 30, 2012 05:11AM) (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Garth wrote: "This is why I’m proffering and preferring the term Omega. He is the other end of the continuum. He will make the first move it is just going to be a much different one than Alpha’s.

At a wedding..."


That's a good representation of a scene, yet... i consider the term "beta" more fitting. let's consider the beta/omega guy a self-developed application (in closed beta phase) and the only user that has access to it, is the heroine. The application will improve itself/himself based on the user's "feedbacks" and needs. It will be the same guy, yet he will become what the heroine wants


message 13: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden I will concede Omega Guy (thank you for the link Mike). I self-identify as Beta and the second banana connotation rubs my little ego the wrong way (Oh, we can be just as competitive as Alpha – who knew). This thread has made me think a lot about my own work. I’ve never been satisfied with my own male leads and I think it is because I’ve been trying to write a Beta hero like he’s an Alpha.

This conversation is really shoring up my extrovert/introvert –alpha/beta take on the characters. You can invert the pairings, but the introverted alpha is going to be an angry guy and the extroverted beta is going to be so aggressive he’ll get in his own way (they might make good villains though). Tons of good plot starts to be had in mixing and matching these four fellas with the Queen Bees and Wanna Bees of all personality types. Of course these are all just starting points; the self-satisfied character doesn’t have an arc to travel.

Back to the Beta Male, I think he is the missing ingredient that allows the strong female lead (especially the extroverted leading lady) to take center stage. Beta can push her buttons and compete with her just as well as Alpha (maybe even more so because Beta can be much more aware of her than Alpha). But, in the end Beta can modify his agenda to let her be the hero, without losing his own identity or making her look like a bitch. I think this is especially true for screen writing.


message 14: by Bitchie (new)

Bitchie (matron) One type of male I haven't seen anyone discussing here is the Gamma male. He is the most alpha of the alpha, to the point of being cruel. Actually, I think Roman is more of a Gamma male hero than an alpha male hero, because he is a BAD guy. Most alpha male heroes are still, at the end of the day, a hero. The take charge guy who you can trust to save the day, save the girl, and save everyone else, all in one day. A John McClane, if you will.

"The gamma hero is the one who will either kiss you or kill you - and you can't tell which. He is amoral to the point of being a sociopath. Anne Stuart is the absolute master (mistress?) of this sub-genre. In her Ice series, there's a hero who observes someone about to kill the heroine; he only intervenes because it suits his convenience at the moment. A lot of her earlier books also feature this type of man. "Ritual Sins" is a good example." -reposted from a member of the Amazon forums.

Now I've also seen gamma described as the exact opposite- so laid back and passive he almost appears "woman-like". (HATE that definition, btw) But usually, when a bunch of women are sitting around discussing the type of male leads they come across in romance, it's usually the alpha male, the beta male, and the gamma male, the anti-hero. I think Roman falls FIRMLY in the gamma male hierarchy, because there is nothing heroic about him, at least not at this point in time.


Another interesting site I found about the various tropes and paradigms:

http://blog.benhodson.com/2011/01/sup...


message 15: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Bitchie wrote: "One type of male I haven't seen anyone discussing here is the Gamma male. He is the most alpha of the alpha, to the point of being cruel. Actually, I think Roman is more of a Gamma male hero than a..."

Thanks for another fun link B.

So with Gamma in the mix I'm now seeing Star Wars from a brand new POV.

Luke = Beta Male
Han Solo = Gamma Male
And Princess Leia is our Alpha

"Stop bitchin' at each other, Boys. We've got an evil empire to topple!"


message 16: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Joia, I do hope I haven’t insulted or offended you – never my intention with anyone. I’m a big fan of the insight and perspective you bring to all of these discussions.

I’ve been drawing a thumbnail sketch of Alpha characters in this tread because I think he is already well defined and understood in the romance genre. I trust that other participants can and will flesh Alpha’s parts out (you can make that as saucy as you want it to be) from their own reading and watching experience. The Alpha romantic lead stereotype exists because he works. I also agree with you that no two dimensional character is going to hold our attention for very long (I never meant to imply that any Alpha character was good/bad, superior/inferior, etc.). Character arc is why I come to fiction (both as a reader and a writer). It takes a well-rounded character with both assets and liabilities to make that arc work. So again, I hope you don’t take my rushed treatments of the characters you love as being dismissive or demeaning –not my intention. And, I apologise if any of my comments or depictions made you feel unwelcome in this discussion.

I am interested in your take on some of romantic lead pairing possibilities. I tend to use film references (1. Because I live in remote town and DVD’s are more likely to be available through our library system and 2. Easier access if the other person isn’t familiar with the work). So here are some my film picks for different pairings.
Alpha Male & Alpha Female: Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), The Bounty Hunter (2010), Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
Fun stories, lots of tension, sparks and competition both overt and covert.
Beta Male & Alpha Female: Bed of Roses (1996), Princess Bride (1987), No Reservations (2007)
This is the pairing I’m most interested in; seems to give the most room to the female lead.
Alpha Male & Beta Female: You’ve Got Mail (1998), Terminator (1984)
The Harlequin template, but works well with any genre, both as primary and sub plots
Beta Male & Beta Female: Benny & Joon (1993), Pump Up The Volume (1990), Bandslam (2009)
I am a sucker for this love story; lots of room for unusual and quirky characters here.

I’m very interested in other people’s suggestions and examples for these pairings. I’m finding more examples of and possibilities for Beta Males (sometimes mistaken for Alphas) the more we explore this thread.


message 17: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Garth wrote: "Bitchie wrote: "One type of male I haven't seen anyone discussing here is the Gamma male. He is the most alpha of the alpha, to the point of being cruel. Actually, I think Roman is more of a Gamma ..."

Luke is a beta male, because the "only" female character (whith a major role) is his sister


message 18: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden @Joia Good to know. I’m not a Christian and end up at loose ends this time of year as well. I am living in a tiny town on the North end of Vancouver Island (collapsed resource based local economy) with a limited arts scene. Finding a group of people who not only want to discuss the kinds of story I enjoy, but also bring insight and imagination to the conversation has been a God(dess) send this year (I’m in mental health and addictions, so Xmas is either dead slow or horrific). If you haven’t checked out Mike’s link Msg. 12 in this thread (under the word this) it’s an interesting compliment to this conversation (moves Omega guy to the back of the pack With Uncle Buck and Happy Gilmore unfortunately). I do think all kinds of extra baggage came into the SB threads (a testament to Ms. Mead’s talent that she generates such visceral reactions).

I’m still not sure if I see Roman as an Alpha. He projects Alpha, but I think (both due to his amazing narcissism and the ongoing persecution of his species) that he is that extroverted Beta I was talking about earlier. He craves the attention, but must hide constantly. Being neither human nor legitimate immortal, he is able to view everyone else as alien. Even his one real bond with his twin sister is a reflection of himself. I don’t know if Roman’s character has the ability to transform necessary for him to be and Alpha character (I haven’t had the time to get back to the next installments yet – this turned into a horrific Christmas at work).

@Kamil Luke was never going to be an Alpha character and the unavailability of Leia was just a foot note to that. George Lucas literally had to wipe out Luke’s ordinary world in order to propel him into the story. Left to his own devices Luke would have spent the rest of his life farming and feeling vaguely uneasy about his unmet potential.

With that said, I think Luke ends up a fully actualized character. But, he is the second in command to Leia’s Queen Bee and I think he’s good with that. Luke is rarely effective until someone else tells him to stop thinking and start acting (use the force Luke, no really stop talking and do something Luke). But hey he has given two or three generations of young men the opportunity to realize that not only are powerful women hot, they make great bosses as well (way to go Luke).


message 19: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Garth wrote: "@Joia Good to know. I’m not a Christian and end up at loose ends this time of year as well. I am living in a tiny town on the North end of Vancouver Island (collapsed resource based local economy..."

I was making a joke, sorry i can't have a star wars talk whithout making jokes


message 20: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin I think Lord Conall Maccon from Soulless is a beta/omega male - in my mind, an alpha male has to be the one in charge, doesn't agree to anything unless he wants to, etc. If a guy is willing to take charge, but doesn't HAVE to be the one in charge, that moves him out of alpha territory for me.

So because of that, even though Lord Maccon was described as the alpha of his pack, he treats Alexia as his equal and will defer to her. Therefore, not alpha.


message 21: by Ashley (new)

Ashley H. (ashleydoogah) | 20 comments I think the Amy and Rory relationship from Doctor Who is a good example of a successful romance where the man is the beta/omega male. Rory's heroic and very romantic in his own way, but he defers to Amy, lets her whisk him off on their adventures together, etc. He's a grounding influence, as a lot of omega males are for their more adventurous partners in fiction, I think.


message 22: by Emy (new)

Emy (emypt) | 67 comments Caitlin wrote: "I think Lord Conall Maccon from Soulless is a beta/omega male - in my mind, an alpha male has to be the one in charge, doesn't agree to anything unless he wants to, etc. If a guy is willing to take..."

That's a good point, actually. I was thinking earlier (and not writing as usual) that an Alpha Male to me HAS to be in charge.

I personally split Beta and Omega up. Beta to me is Seth, as others have said, but Omega is more someone who could be Alpha, but isn't, or certainly isn't Alpha intentionally... I may be channelling Patricia Briggs here with the terminology, thinking about it. An accident, I promise! Anyways, I see the 'pure' hero/villain as:

Alpha - Leader that HAS to lead. If he isn't in charge, gets upset/angry/mean/revolutionary, depending on whether he's a hero or villain
Beta - Isn't a natural leader, but either supports a naturally Alpha character, or is content with not being the biggest predator out there (Seth, Atticus in Iron Druid, etc.)
Gamma - Not a hero, or Trickster hero, Somewhat an anti-hero at times. He's the sort of male who gets where he wants by wits, but doesn't really do compassion or support unless there's a gain for him. Not evil, just not my cup of tea. Could be a 'Player'. (Half the males in bad historicals?)
Omega - Has the Natural Leader trait that the Beta lacks, but like the beta lacks the need to be Top Dog. The Omega male is content with the belief that he could be an Alpha, but prefers to be outside of power structures. Omega, like beta, supports the female because he doesn't see it as power play, or isn't threatened by a strong woman. (Conall, Fearghus)

HOWEVER, I can't think of a male (in a 'good' story) who always fits 100% into just one category... Pigeonholes are fun as long as you can fall out of them or go visit another one. :)


message 23: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin Emy wrote: "Caitlin wrote: "I think Lord Conall Maccon from Soulless is a beta/omega male - in my mind, an alpha male has to be the one in charge, doesn't agree to anything unless he wants to, etc. If a guy is..."

Your definitions are exactly what hadn't yet distilled into words for me.


message 24: by Tegan (new)

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments I'd like to bring Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld books in to the discussion, the main series (Women of the Otherworld) focuses on a number of strong female characters, and it starts with the story of a female werewolf (amusing to me - I started writing "wherewolf" by accident) who's love interest is the pack's beta/enforcer. The relationship develops over the books, and he does try to boss her around to an extent (largely in the this is dangerous I need to protect you) but while trying to avoid spoilers he truthfully states at one point that he has no interest in ever being an alpha, his role, who he is, is as the right hand of the alpha.


message 25: by Tegan (new)

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments Caitlin - I've always loved the definition Briggs used in the Alpha & Omega books, that the Omega isn't weak because they are calming or even a caretaker, but that they have the same traits as an alpha minus the need to control.


message 26: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments I was taking a stroll and I thought of a clear example of the difference between alpha and beta.
Let's immagine the guy is a wolf/dog-shapeshifter; that's easy to picture, right?
Now let's rewind to the moment when the heroine is unaware of this peculiarity and she stumbles into the guy's animal form. What do you think would happen?
The alpha could even hurt her in an outburst of rage, while the beta would play fetch just to recieve a scratc behind the ear.


message 27: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Kamil wrote: "I was taking a stroll and I thought of a clear example of the difference between alpha and beta.
Let's immagine the guy is a wolf/dog-shapeshifter; that's easy to picture, right?
Now let's rewind t..."


That is an interesting example Kamil, but let’s give the boys and girl a bit more back story. I like the shape shifting dog folks (let’s make them single form shifters, so just human and dog). They have a secret village deep in the forest (it is the duty of every pack member to defend that secret location). Full humans are a bit genocidal toward the Leg Humpers (might even call them that as an insult).

I’m using Mike’s definitions (msg. 12) here where Omega is the Nair-do-well Uncle Buck type. Alpha and Beta are on pretty equal footing, with Alpha more competitive & entitled and Beta more of a big picture questioner & planner. So here’s your scene with a bit more flesh on its bones.

Our girl is an incredibly powerful sorcerer’s apprentice who has had a spell back fire on her and is now lost in the forest. The boys can both smell the power coming off her (cause dog boys can do that). The boys are cousins (the grand children of an aging pack leader) and either one could be the next pack master. To keep the leg humping to a minimum we’ll make them late teens (so this is YA story). And why don’t we kill off the last generation of the pack (forest fire?) leaving grandpa and a few old aunties plus Alpha and Beta, taking care of 20 or 30 youngsters. The boys are under a lot of presser to perform now and have no suitable mates at home.

Enter our Heroine dazed, from the miscast spell, lost and alone( gods and goddesses know where) and she stumbles into a clearing. The boys are hunting in dog form (they keep the village fed). Beta tracks and flushes the game into the very same clearing the heroine has stumbled into and Alpha takes the game down.
* * *
Heroine’s eyes clear and she finds herself facing a massive angry dog. His teeth are bared in a noiseless snarl. His hackles flare making him seem to double in size. Golden brown ears cock fully forward like they’re pointing at her. The dog begins to take slow measured steps toward her. Sinewy muscles ripple beneath the brown black fur of his body and Heroine is transfixed by the angry intelligent eyes staring back at her.

Alpha crouches in the underbrush at the far end of their kill zone. He indulges in a long relaxed stretch. Tensing and elongating the muscles in his forelegs and shoulders, he thrusts his hunches high in the air just like he and Beta had done play fighting as puppies. Wagging his tail in anticipation, alpha creeps closer to the clearing. This isn’t play fighting, this is the hunt. Alpha’s mouth waters. He can almost taste the hot blood of the doe Beta drives toward him. Soon.
Something makes a hissing pop, like hot iron thrust into water and an electric charge dances over Alpha’s fur and whiskers making them stand on end. Alpha catches a scent -- human. . . girl. . . Power. . .WITCH! Another human witch – Alpha knows what to do. He explodes into the clearing, following the witches sent, just as the girl stumbles out of the forest rubbing her eyes. Alpha stops dead and takes stock of the situation. One girl. Young – sixteen, maybe. Nobody following. This will be too easy – no hunt, no chase, just the kill.

Alpha’s hackles flare as the girl catches his eye in defiance. Witch or no she would learn her lesson, her very last lesson. Alpha slowly begins to stalk his prey. The twenty feet between them is two fast bounds for a dog his size, but Alpha wants to savor this. It not every day you get to kill a Witch. And he would kill her. Alpha could not let the Witch live. Not this close to the village. The goddess only knows what she would do set loose amongst the pups.

The doe Beta flushed bursts into the killing ground. Wild eyed and terrified she scans the clearing for an avenue of escape. Her chest heaves with the labour of her flight and blood red foam flies from her nostrils with every breath. Trapped she rears back on her hind legs, suddenly towering over Alpha. He ducks. Alpha knows from painful experience that those razor sharp hooves can kill. He rolls away from the furious deer, but not fast enough. Lightening explodes on the right side of his head striking down deep into his shoulder. Alpha bounds upward his teeth and jaws sinking into hot flesh. Not the neck. Not anything vital yet, but he has his prey. He holds fast, dragging the doe to the ground and sinking his teeth further and further in. Arterial blood begins to surge past his fangs almost drowning him and Alpha knows the fight is over. The doe will bleed out.

Beta gets to the clearing just as the doe rears and strikes Alpha. Alpha lunges upwards catching the doe’s exposed belly. The fight won’t be pretty, but it is over. Beta catches a horrible scent – Magic . . . twisted, bent magic . . . human . . . girl . . .WITCH! Beta only sees the girls booted calves and feet as she crawls into the underbrush.

Great goddess’s gifts, that idiot Alpha had been stalking a witch! The head strong fool would get the whole pack killed with antics like that. Pausing long enough to ensure Alpha wouldn’t die from his wounds Beta ponders what to do next. He can’t let the witch escape. Not this close to the village. The wound on Alpha’s shoulder is deep, but the joint isn’t separated so grandfather can stitch it closed. Alpha just sits there looking so pleased with himself. Beta doesn’t know how he manages to smile in dog form, but there it is -- Alpha’s stupid I did it all myself grin. Beta gives his cousin a disapproving growl and lopes into the brush after the human witch.

He surreptitiously follows her for an hour. Beta can’t call it tracking, not with the way she stumbles and crashes through the forest alerting every animal, hunter and prey alike, to her presence. She reeks of confusion and fear. Thank the goddess that the warped magic stench stayed behind at the killing field. Beta couldn’t handle much more of that acrid putrefied smell.

Slowly Beta begins thinking of her as the girl, not the witch. She’s a little younger than Alpha and him, fifteen or sixteen at most. And, she’s obviously lost. She is not a threat. This is not the witch that rained fire down on their village five years earlier. This is just a girl, a very powerful girl, but a scared, lost girl none the less. A plan starts to form in Beta’s tired mind. Alpha showed the witch girl his bad dog act. Well Beta could show her what man’s best friend looks like. He knew that not even a scared lost witch would be frightened of him when he put on his waggy tail, toss the stick in the air, let’s play fetch routine.

People talk to puppies when they’re nice. Beta built an intelligence gathering career on that fact.

* * *

So yes Beta is going to play fetch with Heroine, but to get information not a scratch behind the ear.


message 28: by Susan (last edited Jan 03, 2013 07:18AM) (new)

Susan (susieblu) | 5 comments @ Garth love the story please tell us when you publish it. :)

To nickpick on the use of Alpha, Beta and Omega concerning animal behavior. Omegas are at the bottom of the pack, pride, etc. They are the underfed, clingy ones that have to relay on the good graces of the Alpha to have any function within the group. Omegas are the ones that will look at the Alpha and be "oh, let me get that for you. You want my small piece of meat even though you have an entire leg over there? Sure, no problem. Thank you for noticing me." A beta is the position between the Alpha and the Omega.

TL:DL Beta shouldn't be seen as a bad lable nor should Alpha. As with most literary concept this can be seen as a spectum versus a alpha is/isn't-beta is/isn't arguement.


message 29: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Susan wrote: "@ Garth love the story please tell us when you publish it. :)

To nickpick on the use of Alpha, Beta and Omega concerning animal behavior. Omegas are at the bottom of the pack, pride, etc. They are..."


Tee Hee Susan this needs a whole whack of world building and plot graphing to turn into anything more than an incident.

I agree that all of these characters live in a spectrum, but they do come with very different primary and secondary skill sets. Each character's arc comes from recognizing and developing thier unexplored potential. In the dog boy story Alpha will need to learn to use his intelligence more and Beta will have to step up and start closing the deal more.

The other fun aspect of these starting templates is that they give fleshed out literary people the option of acting out of character and that is when stories move into the fun zone.


message 30: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Garth wrote: "Kamil wrote: "I was taking a stroll and I thought of a clear example of the difference between alpha and beta.
Let's immagine the guy is a wolf/dog-shapeshifter; that's easy to picture, right?
Now ..."


the funny thing? I dreamed the world in this backstory. how magic works, the lore and it's history.


message 31: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Joia wrote: "Good story!

So, honest question: In the "Succubus Blues" episode, re: appreciating Roman's assertiveness, Bonnie talks about living in a city of "apathetic hipster dudes" who can have their pick o..."


They are hipster dudes, the most mainstream kind of guys out-there. They just have their good time


message 32: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Joia wrote: "Good story!

So, honest question: In the "Succubus Blues" episode, re: appreciating Roman's assertiveness, Bonnie talks about living in a city of "apathetic hipster dudes" who can have their pick o..."


Bonnie may have been making a San Fransico-centric comment (i.e. ratio of hetro men to women in that fine city). An other element at play here is that we are three generations past the collapse of the "traditional" family and many of the old norms have fallen without being replaced. North America is predominantly a single culture now. The random hook ups and multipairings have left lots of people confused about how to act and what to expect in datine, courting etc. Those of us in the first post collapse generation (only identifing myself here) can find that lack of direction and clarity off putting.


message 33: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Kamil wrote: "Garth wrote: "Kamil wrote: "I was taking a stroll and I thought of a clear example of the difference between alpha and beta.
Let's immagine the guy is a wolf/dog-shapeshifter; that's easy to pictur..."


I'd love to see your thoughts on it as that was all first drafty seat of the pants stuff and I'm liking the characters now. Just when you think you're out of the magical woods, they drag you back in.


message 34: by Lee (new)

Lee (luneray) | 47 comments Garth wrote: "Joia, I do hope I haven’t insulted or offended you – never my intention with anyone. I’m a big fan of the insight and perspective you bring to all of these discussions.

I’ve been drawing a thumbn..."


The Princess Bride as an alpha female? Really? I watched it recently and was surprised by how utterly passive Buttercup was. And the Terminator as Beta Female? Can you explain what you mean?

This is a great thread and has been very thought-provoking.


message 35: by Anders (new)

Anders Widebrant | 8 comments I touched on this in the "Alpha men" thread, but it's maybe even more apropos here. In the ethological definition, the Alpha is determined primarily by observing how the rest of the flock treats that individual with deference. How the Alpha itself acts is of much less importance, and can vary from species to species and flock to flock.

This translates well into fiction - one of the most effective ways to establish a Bad Motherfucker is by the deferential or fearful reactions of others ("Omar's comin!"). And it of course brings to mind the fantasy trope of the protagonist who's goes from zero to hero by stepping through a magic portal to a land where everyone treats him or her with a completely different level of deference and respect. I'm not sure how much vaginal fantasy that's been written about "becoming an Alpha" like that, but it would be interesting to read.


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