Upon advice I've kept each POV in my WIP referring to other characters by a set name or nickname. However, I have used as part of different pov's voice different ways of address for two main characters.
SC 1 always calls MC Cait, while a less familiar character chooses Caitlin. Other MC is Aegeus, but is usually known by Agee.
I keep it consistent within each POV, and this seemed undistracting to me, until I later introduced a younger character who tends to refer to people as Ms. or Mr. so now I have one character known as Agee, Aegeus, or in this one character's case Mr. Aegeus. Cait, Caitlin, or Ms. Caitlin.
Would you find this distracting given its done consistantly for each POV and the names are frequent enough (3rd person) that you're not going to forget who is being talked about?
As long as your consistent, you're fine. In fact, it's a good way to cement your pov characters. And since they're all obvious variations on the name there should be no confusion.
Posts: 1927 | Registered: Jul 2009
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I would think if someone has a nickname for someone, it's either because (1) he knows him well and long and can be casual and easy in their relationship, or (2) he's prone to giving out nicknames without regard to the feelings of the other.
It might be necessary---and difficult---to explain any nickname beyond the shortening of a longer name, though...
Did you have any trouble keeping Strider, Aragorn, and King Elessar straight in LORD OF THE RINGS? (Not to mention his various surnames and other designations, such as Son of Arathorn, and Estel, and Elf-friend.)
As long as you make it clear exactly whom a character is referring to, and as long, as has already been said, you are consistent among the characters using the name or nickname, you can use as many names for the same character as you like.
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited September 27, 2011).]
I do the same sort of thing in my WIP. One POV character likes to call everyone by last names (and thinks of them that way), but the other POV characters use first names.
Posts: 125 | Registered: Mar 2011
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Yeah I use that in my current WIP between characters. The MC calls everyone by their last name in dialogue and in the writing, while a few other characters use the first name. Also in some cases characters who've been friends for a long time use nicknames in dialogue when the conversation is getting more emotional or serious.
An added bonus is if you're mainly working from two POVs seeing how a person is addressed lets you immediately know which character's eyes you're looking through.
Of course, Strider was introduced as Strider (that's what they called him around Bree) and shortly after said his name was Aragorn son of Arathorn, but the other characters in the narrative (at that point Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin) went on thinking of him as "Strider." Later, Bilbo calls him "the Dunadan" and says he hadn't heard the name "Strider" before...
Come to think of it, "Sam," "Merry," and "Pippin" are nicknames, too, coming from long familiarity among the characters.
Tolkien handled this adeptly...I believe that, within dialog, "Strider" might be called by many different names, but usually in the narrative around it, at least scene-by-scene, he was referred to by one name at a time.
(Also come to think of it, that's another possibility for nicknames---or names, at any rate. Some of the characters in The Lord of the Rings have traveled wide and long, and are known by different names by different groups.)