Author Topic: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -  (Read 6775 times)

Offline SpeedyG

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Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« on: December 10, 2011, 08:58:35 PM »

I've been trying to find out what is the acceptable rule(s) for this when using NICKNAMES for one character or more in your manuscript.

I have already been told that nicknames are NOT capitalized like real names.

But I have also heard of many aspects of how people distinguish a nickname in the manuscript.

Italicize it - some people say.

Underline, I have heard from others.

Does anyone know what the "standard rule" is for nicknames?

Thank you.

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 09:06:33 PM »
Whenever I've used a nickname it's been as a normal name. If there is a need to explain that Toasty is Mr Jones because he's in a formal situation or there is a need to expand on how he got his nickname I'll fit it in somehow and from then on 'Mr Jones' is referred to as Toasty.

If you are writing about real people, editors like to have the full name in brackets beside the nickname when it's first mentioned or John 'Toasty' Jones and thereafter you can use the nickname.
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Offline Don

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Re: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 09:49:29 PM »
I use nicknames all the time and Sio is correct--use them just as you would use a regular name (which means a capital is required) particularly if you are writing fiction.

There could be many reasons why your MC or narrator does not know a person's name. They might refer to them by a distinguishing characteristic (Scarface or Lefty) or by some article of clothing they are wearing (baggy pants, blue shoes) until the name is learned. Even after the name is learned, you may use the nickname because the reader is used to it.

There is only one "standard rule." Don't confuse the reader.

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Offline sincerely_anna

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Re: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2011, 11:02:13 PM »
I would shy away from italics or underlining or any of that. Just be clear in the text that you're using a nickname and write the name just as you would write your own.

Lin

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Re: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2011, 04:31:45 AM »
Whenever I've used a nickname it's been as a normal name. If there is a need to explain that Toasty is Mr Jones because he's in a formal situation or there is a need to expand on how he got his nickname I'll fit it in somehow and from then on 'Mr Jones' is referred to as Toasty.

If you are writing about real people, editors like to have the full name in brackets beside the nickname when it's first mentioned or John 'Toasty' Jones and thereafter you can use the nickname.

I would go with Sio on this one.  My character in my novel has a nickname 'The Viking' I just use it as normal because my reader already knows who he is.

Lin x

Offline CWS

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Re: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 09:41:49 AM »
This has answered a question I also had.  Your posts have been very helpful to me.

Thank you all.

C. W. Stockman

Offline bonitakale

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Re: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2011, 12:36:38 PM »
I've been trying to find out what is the acceptable rule(s) for this when using NICKNAMES for one character or more in your manuscript.

I have already been told that nicknames are NOT capitalized like real names.

This only applies to words like "son," or "darling," that are sort of generic. Nicknames, like Betsy for Elizabeth, are always capitalized.

Quote
But I have also heard of many aspects of how people distinguish a nickname in the manuscript.

Italicize it - some people say.

Underline, I have heard from others.

I can't imagine why anyone would underline or italicize a nickname that's in the language you're writing in. Possibly you would if you were using a generic term in a different language: "Come here, cherie."

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Offline SpeedyG

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Re: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 10:52:03 PM »
Thanks everyone for your help!

Wolfe

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Re: Whe Using NICKNAMES for novel characters -
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 11:47:48 AM »
I just want to add one item: don't confuse or overdo it. I strongly recommend you stick with one name—nickname or real name.

The biggest problem I see with manuscripts that use nicknames is the confusion readers have when writers overdo all the names. One character, even two, with nicknames is one thing. But, if you attempt to do this with an entire cast, you better handle this like a master.

Otherwise, it'll confuse like mad.

A good example is how Battlestar Galactica handled call signs. While fighting, or prepping for battle, they used call signs. During personal, or intense interactions, it was their names. This was actually a smart technique because it put you into the frame of mind to expect certain emotions from certain scenes based solely on the names the other characters called each other.

Hope this helped.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 01:36:45 AM by Wolfe »