Halrloprillalar (prillalar) wrote,


So, why is it that we hate reading nicknames in fic? That seems to be a huge peeve of a lot of people. And I often feel that way too. But I'm not sure just why it is.

Let's face it, we use nicknames a lot in real life. Nicknaming builds intimacy. (I recall how in Stephen Fry's memoir, he describes how, when he was at school, he carefully came up with a nickname to use with the boy he was in love with. And how one of his greatest moments of pleasure was when he overheard another boy use the same nickname and be ticked off because it was okay for Fry to use it, but no one else.) The intimacy of friendship, the intimacy of lovers.

If you are, or have been in a long term relationship, do you normally call your partner by their given name when you are alone? Or do you use one or more nicknames and terms of endearment?

Maybe "alone" is the key here. If my partner used those terms in front of other people, I'd be mortified by how cutesy they are. And how it opened up our intimacy to other people. Maybe by reading these nicknames, we're unconsciously feeling like we're intruding on something we shouldn't be seeing.

Does that make any sense to you? Or do you feel your dislike, if you do dislike nicknames in fic, stems from something else?

If the nicknames aren't overly sappy or cute, do you feel the same way? Back in the day, when I was writing a series of TXF stories about Skinner and Pendrell, they used nicknames for each other: Skipper and Professor, because of a Gilligan's Island thing from when they first got together. I think if I were writing that now, I wouldn't use the nicknames quite so much, but I did like the feeling of intimacy they created. I'm not sure how my readers felt about it, though.

I guess a lot of this comes down to the fact that we can't have people speaking in fiction as they would speak in real life, or we'd be bored to death. So what we accept as realistic in written form is a stylized version of reality. I suppose that's what makes good dialogue tricky to write. It has to be interesting but still seem in character for the individual.

Instead of asking you for examples of nicknames that you hate, because that could go on forever, do you have any instances of fanfic nicknames that you like?

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