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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's In A (Nick) Name?

So now that I’ve talked about titles, you’re going to think I’m obsessed with names. I never thought so, but sometimes the crazy person is the last to know.

In any case, I’m big on nicknames. I know there are those of you out there who hate, despise, and abhor a nickname, but Billy is so much warmer and more approachable than William, don’t you think?

This is as true when it comes to my characters as it is in my life. Nick in LIKE A KNIFE, was Nick, not Dominic or Nicholas. And to some in the book, he was even Nicky. The hero in TELL ME NO LIES was Henry to his mother, Hank to everyone else (including me). I also love it when characters give nicknames to each other. In DEAD RINGER, Angelina liked to call Finn, Sharkman.

My heroines have been called various sobriquets by their heroes:
Wonder Woman, Tough Girl, and Short Stack to name a few.

I already have a nickname picked out for one the characters in my next book, but I shall remain mum on what it is for now.

In my own life, nicknames reign high. My daughter is Boo, Lucy, Lucinda, Lucinda Binda, Beeka, and Sweetpea, depending on whose talking to her (3 guesses as to who calls her the latter…and it ain’t me). My own declensions go from Annie to Nanny, to Nahn, to Nahnny and Nonnie, and lately just Auhntie. I also get Short Person a lot (if you guess Sweatpea correctly you’ll also figure out who came up with this one) plus Whill and Qwhill--but that’s another story…

Do nicknames change who you are or how you behave? Is Katie more likely to spill the milk than Kate? There are times when you want to be formal—like accepting the Nobel Peace Prize and stuff like that. On the other hand, did Al Gore accept as Al or Albert?

And is it a true nickname if you give it to yourself? I suspect not. It’s gotta be bestowed on you, like the knights of yore: Kneel, Sir Knight! I now dub you Sir Nardo (alias of one of my brother’s friends) or Sir Karl (my brother’s evil twin, who comes out when he’s playing Euchre).

So…I gotta ask. Got nicknames?

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11 Comments:

Blogger lucy said...

I remember being slightly embarrassed when my Lucy nickname turned into almost my name, i.e. when you first starting calling me that in public. It took me a while to realize that most people would just assume that was my name. I think that is probably the strangest nickname I have--one that has nothing to do with my name. It's like you renamed me when I turned 18 or something. I suppose that's what you get when you have a creative mother!

October 24, 2008 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Well, I did get to name you originally. So why not re-name you?

October 24, 2008 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Joanal unit said...

Is the term "nickname" a nickname? Is it really a "nicholasname?" important and wondrous questions. I am a big fan of nicknames as well. I also like to make up lyrics to popular tunes. Do you believe there is some connection between the two?

October 24, 2008 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

Nickhames. My son is Jeff and Red, for obvious reasons, but he's actually Jeffrey on his birth certificate. I call him Jeff, too, unless I'm angry at him--seldom--he's Jeffrey Glenn.

In high school, I was nicknamed Speedy and Gypsy for reasons I won't reveal. In my real name work life, I've been known as Mar-vee, Mer, and Mare.

My characters also have nicknames. Randi from Love on the Run and One Too Many is Miranda only to her mother and her upper class Brit husband.

Anything that makes our characters more human makes them more real to our readers. Nicknames do that.

BTW, I loved Fin and thought it was a great nickname.

October 27, 2008 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Missy Lyons said...

I feel the same way. One of the reasons I liked the name Savannah ( we named our baby that) was because we could shorten it to Vanna or Anna. :)

October 28, 2008 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Mar-Vee!!! I love that. It's perfect for you. But then, Gypsy has a nice ring, too...

October 28, 2008 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Missy--I love the name Savannah. And also, Vanna, and...of course, how can you not love Anna? Being as its so close to my own...

October 28, 2008 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

Annie, the next time I see you, ask me the reason for the Gypsy one. LOL!

I kinda like the "Mar-Vee" one, too.

October 28, 2008 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Okay, Gypsy, you got it. I love having a friend named Gypsy...

October 28, 2008 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger robynl said...

My cousin called me Buffy for awhile in school. I think it was because I have blonde hair and a twin brother who has dark brown hair - hence, Buffy and Jody(the TV series).
Buffy is not derivative from my name obviously but he called me Buffy.

November 2, 2008 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Buffy is a very cool nickname, robynl. Does it make you feel like you want to do some slayage?

November 2, 2008 at 9:52 AM  

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