I need help from readers and writers concerning nicknames in published works. Everybody knows McDonald’s by the nickname Mickey D’s. At least, I think they do. I named my youngest son Daniel, and I refused, though, to allow anyone to call him Danny or Dan, because I liked and wanted Daniel.
I have come to a point in my work in progress where I seriously need to decide on a name for my detective. Right now, I am using a Scrivener name generator produced name for my detective and I don’t like it.
I have decided on either Robert Richardson, or Richard Robertson and I will tell you why. It has to do with nicknames. Many nicknames can be made from Robert: Bob, Rob, Bert, and from Richardson: Rich. Likewise many nicknames can be made from Richard; Rich, Ricky, and Robertson. These can be used interchangeably between Christian and Sir names, if need be. This is most likely going to be a series, so this name will follow him throughout.
Questions though: Do you really care for nicknames in what you are reading, or do they bother you? Do they get too confusing? If the name stays the same in narrative, are nicknames more acceptable in dialog? Or do they still trouble you?
I have read books that used nicknames in dialog without problem and it was easy to follow. I have also read nicknames used in narrative and dialog that became too difficult to follow, especially at the beginning of a book. I have a couple of humorous scenes in my WIP wherein the detective could get into trouble because of the use of nicknames, but I am unsure if the reader would enjoy that, or would it be too confusing? This detective takes his work seriously, but has a rather not so serious sidekick. The detective is fortyish, comes from a small town outside of Atlanta, GA (no, I won’t call him Bubba), and currently resides in Orlando, FL.
I know that he has sold 19 million copies of The Bat: The electrifying first appearance of Jo Nesbø’s detective, Harry Hole. But I can’t go with anything like Hairy Hole…I just can’t do it.
What are your thoughts on reading books with nicknames? Do nicknames make a storyline too challenging to follow? Do you have any suggestions on; perhaps, a different name besides the two that I am debating?