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Diandra
06-01-2009, 06:22 AM
I was wondering about making a transition between a character's formal name and their nicknames. Because I have introduced my character with their full name, but I would like to continue on with a shorten version. Can I just simply start calling them by their nickname instead?

archerjoe
06-01-2009, 07:13 AM
I don't know why not. As long as it isn't confusing to the reader. Depending on how you introduced your character, you might even start with the nickname and fill in the formal name later.

Kayley
06-01-2009, 07:34 AM
In my view, the nickname is usually introduced through dialogue or some kind of interaction with an outside source. A person usually does not call themselves both a formal name and a nickname, so it wouldn't be something to put in a description. You would introduce the nickname spoken from a different character, such as "Kayley turned around and saw her friend waving frantically in the air. 'Kels, you've got to come see this!' the other girl shouted."

It's the opposite if a character calls themselves a nickname instead of a formal name, like if they don't like their formal name. In that case, the nickname would be how you address the character and the formal name would be used in dialogue.

An exception would be if the book was first person. In that case, you could write...

formal --> nickname
"Well, I'm just a southern girl named Belle, known to my peers as Southern Belle."

nickname --> formal
"My name's Dan, NOT Danielle as my mother refers to me."

It would just be awkward if you switched from a formal name to nick name in the middle of description. People don't refer to themselves constantly by different names. They choose either the nickname or the formal name and use that as their description.

As for your specific question...if you started out describing them by a nickname, and didn't change in the middle of description, it should be fine. It's just weird when it keeps going back and forth.

dpaterso
06-01-2009, 12:57 PM
I was wondering about making a transition between a character's formal name and their nicknames. Because I have introduced my character with their full name, but I would like to continue on with a shorten version. Can I just simply start calling them by their nickname instead?
I'd say tentative yeah, as long as you do this right away to avoid any confusion.

Then again, I'm wondering if I would intro a character by their full name if I intended to call them by their nickname throughout (assuming they're the protagonist/MC). I'd maybe lean towards using their nickname from the get-go and having other characters or documentation provide their full name when needed.

If they're a secondary character, easy enough for the MC to intro them any way he/she likes.

As with most things, "It depends." :)

-Derek

Danthia
06-01-2009, 04:52 PM
Use whatever is appropriate for the POV. If your character thinks of themselves as the nickname, they'd call themselves that. Parents, teachers, or co-workers might use the full name. Friends might use the nickname or even variations of it. An omniscient narrator would call them whatever you feel is correct.

Big Boomer
06-02-2009, 05:54 AM
if you are using the nickname in narrative then introduce the formal in dialogue early and then just keep to your abbreviated name unless there is another character who is restricted to using the formal name.

Libbie
06-02-2009, 07:19 AM
I was wondering about making a transition between a character's formal name and their nicknames. Because I have introduced my character with their full name, but I would like to continue on with a shorten version. Can I just simply start calling them by their nickname instead?

A lot of my characters have nicknames/short versions of their full names. My book is in limited third, told through the POV of one particular character, and I have her refer to them by their short names obliquely in the narration or in dialogue. For example:

But Ahmose could never resist a game of senet, and she begged Mutnofret to play right away. Nofret agreed.

and

Netikerty had even gossiped that the old black woman was the result of a tryst between the great Pharaoh Seqenenra and a Nubian princess who stole his heart while he was off making war. Neti swore that Pharaoh Seqenenra brought an infant daughter, black as night, home to Waset from one of his campaigns.

If that type of thing doesn't work for you due to the POV of your ms, maybe use dialogue to introduce the nicknames.