“Hi, honey. How was your day?”
“I’ll always love you, sweetheart.”
“Oh, baby, I love it when you do that to me.”
I’m sure you and those you know have used one or maybe all of these phrases, or some variation of them. Don’t lie. 😉 I’m guilty of the same thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s really one of the nicest perks of being in a stable, long-lasting relationship, when you cease needing to use each other’s actual names.
As the recipient, you might feel a mix of emotions on hearing one of these nicknames. Maybe pleasure, maybe a welling of love, and maybe even a little embarrassment. As the one bestowing the nickname, it might feel a little silly at first, or embarrassing on your part as well. After a time though, you respond as easily to that endearment as you would to your name.
When I write a story, one of the most common editorial mistakes I make is using someone’s name too much. It’s a common error with many writers, I’m sure. It’s also an easy tool to fall back on when holding a conversation between characters. You insert their name at the beginning or end of a question or phrase, and voila! The speaker is identified. The problem comes when you use it too often. When you speak with someone in real life, you might call their name to get their attention but after that, you don’t use their name again, right? Imagine if your conversation with your neighbour went something like this:
“Hey, Jim, I noticed you cut that small section of the lawn there.”
“Sure did, Henry. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Of course not. Thanks for helping out, Jim.”
“No problem, Henry. I know you and Maria have been busy.”
“Let me tell you, Jim, I haven’t slept in days.”
“Anytime you need some help, let me know, Henry.”
Ok, so maybe this is an exaggeration but it’s still a common error in many books and stories I’ve read over the years.
That’s an easy enough mistake to get around. Take out the names, except for at the very beginning or end of the conversation, just as you would while speaking with someone.
As a write, we give our lead characters terms of endearment to use with each other. Somehow, I manage to use these names more often without overusing them as I demonstrated with the real names above. I’m not saying I still don’t make the mistake occasionally, but for some reason, it’s easier to spot the use of the cutesie name, and therefore, correct it.
My point today isn’t to discuss another of my foibles as an author though. 🙂 I wanted to ask about terms of endearment and how they are used in writing romance when compared with real life.
I’ve mentioned before how my “Ice” stories allow me a lot of room to be over-the-top romantic. It’s fun sometimes and challenging always to find a balance between something plausible and ridiculous. I like to think I strike the right balance in those stories and that includes my usage of sweet nicknames.
I’ve only used a few, in reality, which I’ve realized as I’ve gone back through my stories a bit. In “The Ice-Breaker,” Alex takes to calling Kaitlyn ‘gorgeous’ fairly early on in their relationship. Not that she seems to mind. What woman would? In “Uncovering the Ice,” Sean spends much of the story calling Vanessa ‘sweetheart,’ a common endearment for sure. Something about the way he uses it seems less than sweet though, wouldn’t you agree? 😉 Of course, in the beginning, she had a different name for him as well. Gold stars to those who can tell me what it was. I wonder, do you think I ever went too far with some of the pet names between my characters?
In real life, I’ve been called different names by different people. Sweetheart, beautiful, baby, darlin’, honey and pumpkin to name a few. I won’t specify who calls me what but there is something special about having a nickname like that, even more so when it’s from someone who means it. Someone who really thinks you’re beautiful, or that you have a sweet heart or that you’re sweet as honey. I hope when I use those endearments in a story, those are the feelings I’m conveying, and not the ones of embarrassment or awkwardness.
I’ll leave you today thinking about what sort of names you use for your loved ones and how they make you feel. Hopefully, you enjoy being the recipient as much as the giver, as with all things. 😉
Take care and happy reading.