Thursday, October 2, 2014

You don't get to call me that!

I will be turning 25 in just a few days and I'm trying not to freak out. It doesn't help that last weekend I had a musical fundraiser which plopped me right in the middle of a bunch of old high school acquaintances and one in particular that somehow made me revert to my raging 16 yr old self. I haven't decided if that is a good or bad thing yet. 

But this relates to writing I swear! When I wrote G4, I based a minor character off a boy I went to school with that everyone called by a shortened version of his name. Just as my MC, Mirella, does, I always called that by his whole name when I had a crush on him and when I moved on, I adopted the shortened version (also like Mirella). Sometimes I take "write what you know" a little seriously. #sorrynotsorry

Anyway, I ran into that boy at my musical fundraiser (you don't even want to know the details) and as I relayed my encounter to a few friends, I noticed the gradual shift back from short name to full name. As if that wasn't worrisome enough (Lavender, you are not 16 and five minutes after seven years does not change ANYTHING!), my best friend noticed it too. "You haven't called him that in years," she proclaimed as she waggled her eyebrows. 

So this tiny, insignificant encounter that I first found so interesting because I wrote something similar into my book has now got me thinking about names and diminutives. Several of my characters have nicknames used throughout the book but they are also referred to by their full names. I realized that as I complete this first pass of edits, I HAVE to examine my placement and use of short vs full names and those types of habits etc because what we call people matters. Would Mirella's dad only call her Songbird when she's singing or all the time? Would he only use Mirella when he's mad? Would it matter when her long-lost best friend calls her Miri again for the first time. Are these details important? After my recent experience, I have to think that the answer is YES. 

What do you think? How important is naming to you? Have you considered the role of nicknames  in any of your writing? 

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