Monday, August 18, 2014

Monthly Meeting: This Saturday, Aug. 23!

Is it just me, or is summer getting shorter and shorter every year?

End of Summer Tomatoes

Our August meeting is this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at The Artful Cup in Grand Junction, 3090 N. 12th Street. I hope to see you there!

We will (if I can find my ducks AND put them in a row) be discussing different types of heroes, and whatever else comes up!


Monday, August 4, 2014

I Need A Hero! (And So Do You!)

Every story needs a hero. A likable, realistic, appealing, lovable, attractive, inspiring hero... in other words, the hero is the quintessential perfect man, which always makes me think of this:

An old joke, but it still makes me chuckle. 
But everyone's definition of "the perfect man" is different, particularly in fiction. One publisher's guidelines say they are looking for "alpha males" as heroes for a particular imprint. Others are looking for "beta males" and even "gamma males." (I'm wondering if I need a crash course in Greek.)

Hero archetypes have been divvied into four, eight, and even sixteen categories. I love the descriptions of all eight hero archetypes loosely wrapped around the idea of how each would react when trapped in a basement with a ticking time bomb at All About Romance by Tami Cowden.

That said, I think we can stick with the alpha, beta, and gamma for a general discussion. Differences in backstory, characterization, and storyline will determine which of the sixteen (who knows, there could be more) types YOUR hero falls into.

There are multiple ways to define and describe the alpha, the beta, and the gamma hero.

  • Football: Alphas are the quarterbacks, betas are the runningbacks, gammas play the field. (I know nothing about football beyond once dating a high school quarterback, can you tell?)
  • Birth order: Alpha males are almost always bossy, controlling, powerful firstborns or onlies. Betas are usually easygoing middle children, and gammas tend to be those charming, lovable, but not always dependable youngest kids. 
  • Star Trek: Captain Kirk was an alpha male. Jean-Luc Picard was a beta. Spock and Riker are gammas. (Who DIDN'T have a crush on Spock or Riker at some point?) 
  • Star Wars (the original, because I'm old, and have lost track of all the additions and sequels and prequels): Darth Vader is an obvious alpha. Luke Skywalker is a beta. Han Solo is (arguably) a gamma. Lando Calrissian, now, there's a conundrum...
  • Literature: Mr. Roarke (Jane Eyre) is a classic alpha. Mr. Darcy (Pride & Prejudice) is a beta. Finding a classical gamma is hard... he seems to be a modern concept. It's not literature, but let's go with Hugh Jackman in "Kate & Leopold" for our gamma male. In fact, Hugh has kind of perfected the gamma male, in my opinion.
We're going to discuss these hero types at our next meeting, Saturday, Aug. 23. Bring your questions, your opinions, and your best examples of your favorite brand of fictional hero to discuss over coffee!