1. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    About names...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Archnenna, Jan 26, 2011.

    Okay, so I've been writing this fiction of mine and I have this two characters whose names I have trouble with.

    One girl is named Ivannah and tho other one is named Marrilyn (MC). Everyone in the story calls Ivannah Ivy and Marrilyn Marril, except for teachers and sometimes their parents (parents and teachers are not much in the story).

    My problem is that I dunno if I should call them how everyone else calls them while writing, or should I always write their real names. Because their real names don't appear that much, while nicknames are regular.

    I just need your opinion: do you like it better when the characters are always mentioned by the author by their nickname or by their full name? I like both and I can't make up my mind so I'd like other people's opinions about it. It might help me decide.
     
  2. Eurlo
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    Eurlo Banned

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    Nickname:)
     
  3. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I think you should call them by their real names. It just seems more proper to do so, and I don't think I've ever read a story where the author chose to call his/her characters by their nicknames when the characters had real names.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use nicknames lol and its nice because that is also how people who read them refer to my characters.

    Socrates Lorenzo is Soc, Nathaniel Smith is Nate, Beatrice Qing Lukas is Bea/Queen Bea, Prince Thomas Lukas is Uncle Tom, Abbot Alexander Kazuto - gets the Abbot, his father calls him Alec and his lover and friends Kaz. Augustus Harlow is Gus, his wife Iris is Gran etc
     
  5. Pen
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    Pen Member

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    Use of a nickname implies there's some kind of interpretation going on and therefore an active narrator, which while I think gives excellent opportunities for storytelling "the all-concealing 'I'", might not be the best given the situation. I'd suggest sticking to the real name unless you have an internal monologue or diary or some other form of narration by a character who would be using the nickname.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I suggest going with the nicknames.
     
  7. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    I like it best when the narrator calls them whatever the narrator is most comfortable calling them.

    Does the narrator have the attitude and voice of the story's authority figures? Then use the full name.

    Would the narrator, if s/he were a character, be a peer of the MCs? Then use the nickname.

    That's my take on it, at least.

    -Frank
     
  8. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    I mix it up based on the tone of the scene being written. In my book one of the characters was named Henry, Hank for short. In general conversation, or when the mood of the scene was light, he would be referred to as Hank. But, when the story grew tense I referred to him with the more formal, Henry.
     
  9. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    This.

    But pretty much just in first person.

    In (serious) third person I will always keep going with... Not formal names. I wouldn't call a character "Markus Croft" every time I mentioned him, but though 90% of characters called him "Marky" throughout, he was "Markus" in my narration. For one thing, that made the mention of "Marky" stand out more, so it could be interpreted in different ways. The guy who was in love with him called him "Marky" when he was feeling friendly towards him (in a non innuendo way - he was a bit of a jerk towards him as well :p) while the sleazeball character called him "Marky" ALL the time - the only character who never called him Markus. If I'd been calling him "Marky" in the narration, though in my head that's who he was, it would have devalued it by making the instances where people called him "Markus" the significant ones, and considering it was mostly a romance about him and the first guy I mentioned, it was very important that the reader picked up on the "Marky"s.

    So yeah. Whatever the story calls for. If I'd been writing a light-hearted silly thing, he SO would have been Marky from the word go. :p
     
  10. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    It depends if you want the reader to know them by their nicknames or their real names, and that is your choice. I would, however, say that it is best to use the name which is used the most in the story, being it thenickname or the real name.

    As an example I could point out that Ron in Harry Potter is always called Ron in the narration, even though his real name is Ronald. Ronald is only used when his mother gets angry, and as such it is better to just go with Ron.
     
  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends. I'd probably go for real name.

    But I would think it's better to be consistent throughout, and not chop & change.
     
  12. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    Thanks for all the opinions and answers, guys! Those really helped! I'll re-read them for a few times and I might decide if I want to use Marril or Marrilyn. Ivannah will be called Ivy.

    If you have more opinions, they're welcome.

    Once again, thanks a lot for these :D
     
  13. D.T.Roberts
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    D.T.Roberts Senior Member

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    Be careful about switching them up. If the reader identifies with them by a certain name, switching back and forth could be confusing.
     
  14. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree
    If the character has had a real name mentioned and also has a nick name I would use the nick name only in dialogue.
    If the real name is never mentioned then I would not refer to it.
     
  15. Spacer
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    Spacer Active Member

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    I was thinking about this, and then wrote something that purposefully uses the context based on the principle character in focus. When the efficient secretary met them, they were "Agent Smith" etc. But when the professor was dealing with them, they were simply "the first agent" etc. since he didn't notice them as individuals or remember their names.
     
  16. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know authors do use nicknames - admittedly Enid Blyton is the only one I can think of, off the top of my head (we knew George from Famous Five was Georgina, and several other of her characters).
     

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