Can the Big Bad Wolf Become the Hero?

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal Blog

Alpha males. Alpha females. Paranormal romances have both and when you have strong protagonists you have to have strong antagonists. But what do you do when you know you are going to have to turn that antagonist into the hero of the next book? Is it even possible?

When I had finished my novella, Little Red Riding Wolf, I knew I had the potential for a sequel in the antagonist Seth. But in order for Little Red’s plot to work, he needed to be a bad wolf. A very bad wolf. And he is bad. He’s angry, and impulsive, and there is an edge to him that has him teetering on irredeemable.

But is he irredeemable?

Sullen and dark, he’s Red’s brother and ultimately his motivation is good. He loves her, he loves the Pack, and he is just trying to do what’s right. His problem is that he is willing to cross any lines for anyone he loves. And that has all the makings of a hero.

After all what is an alpha hero but a tortured soul looking for redemption? Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books are full of them, and in fact the best ones have the darkest heroes. Zarek, from Dance with the Devil, is a good example.He’s so dark and tortured even the other Dark Hunters think he’s over the edge. And yet he finds redemption and love.

I think that is what really makes paranormal alpha heroes different from beta heroes or even from alpha heroes in other genres. Frequently they are dark and brooding because they are atoning for a sin, or a perceived sin. Or they are laboring under punishment from someone else for doing something wrong for the right reasons.

Sometimes, as in Laurel K. Hamilton‘s works, they are good men with bad natures. The vampires can’t help being vampires. They is what they is. It’s what they do with it that counts in the end.

Can Seth come back from his near brush with the dark side? Can he go from being the Big Bad Wolf to being the Alpha Hero? I’m finding out right now as I plot his story, and I think it is going to be interesting plumbing the depths of someone who is willing to do anything for those he loves. Even when he falls in love with the enemy.

Do you like dark tortured heroes? Why or why not? Who are your favorite dark heroes? Were they bad in another book or series? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Enter my Little Red Riding Wolf contest HERE for the opportunity to win prizes including copies of my novella, Little Red sticky notes and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory gift certificates! And don’t forget to visit me on Friday at , you can enter another time there (after commenting). I’m blogging on inspiration!


Filed under Thursdays Bite, Werewolves and the Fae

12 responses to “Can the Big Bad Wolf Become the Hero?

  1. I love dark heroes who redeem themselves in a story. One of my favorites in YA is Cole St. Clair in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. It is so much more interesting to get those “hints” of honor, bravery, and goodness and watch the development than to see some hero that is all good.

    • I haven’t read that series, I’ll have to check into it. I think it is more interesting to see the development of a dark character. It’s why I like the tv series Justified. People are a mixed bag, and I love the idea that even the bad ones have redeeming factors.

  2. I attended a fab workshop in Atlanta led by Kate Brady ( Kate demonstrated how important it is to fully understand and develop your villain, explore his (or her) motivations and backstory just as you would for the hero/heroine.
    It sounds like you did exactly that when you plotted Little Red Riding Wolf. Because you developed Seth so fully, you will be able to work with the frame you built in book one.

  3. Donald Maass suggests…

    Okay. Maass doesn’t suggest anything. He STATES WITH AUTHORITY that all villains must be fully developed and have something in their character with which the reader connects. There is a reason for that dark side.

    So, KUDOS, on having a fully developed villain in LRRW that you can grow into an alpha male in the sequel.

    Never mind that the wild child in me LOVES bad boys turned inside out.

    • OOOH, I’m a bad boy fan myself. Gotta have a dark side to go with the light or those men are no fun! I love the idea of a fully developed villain, no cardboard villains here! Melodrama, begone!

  4. In Karen Marie Moning’s book, one of my favourite is Adam Black’s story, who is portrayed in previous books as a dark fae, bad boy. But, when he finds the woman of his heart, well, she manages to find a few redeeming qualities in the isanely sexy fae.

    • I have to read Karen Marie Moning. She needs to move to the top of my TBR pile because I love the fae and I love dark. How did I ever miss her? My library must have her hidden in a dark corner behind the magazines. After February is over I am hunting her down!

  5. Last winter my son stood no more than three feet from a pack of 5 wolves and they just stood there and looked at him daring him to move.

  6. I kind of missed having a villain that is larger than life in a movie, much as with how Hollywood films portray them, as well as in comicbooks.

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