Should this nickname be capitalized


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  1. #1
    Member wainscottbl's Avatar
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    Should this nickname be capitalized

    Here is how she got the name.

    From earlier in the chapter

    Robert tried to prepare himself for it all. He attempted to prepare himself to handle Johnny Dull’s jests, responding to them on an equal level so that he did not look weak or stupid; for talking with Anastasia was intimidating enough. She was not off putting, but she did not have the same warmness of her sister. Both sisters were confident, but Emily was like the rising sun when the mockingbirds sing, sweet and pretty; Anastasia, she was a mix of day and night. She had the pride of Apollo and the heat of his chariot, warm, but at the same time, overwhelming the eye. Emily, Robert thought, and found himself singing:

    ‘Where e’er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
    Trees where you sit shall crowd into a shade,
    Trees where you sit shall crowd into a shade
    Where e’er you walk cool gales shall fan the glade
    Trees where you sit shall crowd into a shade
    Trees where you sit shall crowd into to a shade.
    Where e’er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise
    And all things flourish
    An all things flourish
    where e’er you turn your eyes
    where e’er you turn your eyes
    where e’er you turn your eyes.’”



    “What was that?” Emily said.

    “Oh, sorry,” Robert blushed.

    “No, it was good. Really good. What song was it?”

    “It’s from Handel’s Semele, though the words are actually by the English poet, Alexander Pope form his poem Summer.

    “What made you start just singing all of a sudden?”

    “I don’t know. I was just thinking.”

    “About what?” Emily asked.

    Blushing, Robert answered, “Love.”

    Emily grew playful and said, “Oooooo, you’re in love!” Then seriously she asked, “With that prostitute.”

    “I think so,” Robert said. “But it was not her I was thinking of.”

    “Who was it?” Emily asked.

    “You,” Robert said simply. He did not blush.

    “You’re in love with me?”

    “No, but your prettiness made me think of that song. I was thinking of someone else, but you came to mind, too, but you are sort of a contrast with her. The lines are:

    ‘Where e’er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade
    Trees where you sit, shall crowd into a shade;
    Where e’er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise,
    And all things flourish wher’er you turn your eyes.’”


    “And why do I remind you of that?” Emily asked in her bright voice, now even brighter with intrigue. They had stopped walking now.

    “Because you have this bright voice, fair skin, and light hair which seems to fit the girl I like. You’re sort of the opposite of her. She has dark hair and is not chirpy like you. I like her though, but I don’t think I love her. I might be in love with Maggie, the call girl though. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.”

    “Well, I want to know who this special girl is.”

    “Well,” Robert said, hesitating. “Your sister.” Quickly he added, “But I am not in love with her. I was just thinking how you are like the sweet dawn, like the birds singing in the morning, soft and sweet. And she is like Apollo, proud and humbling, but also warm and good.”

    “Wow,” Emily said brightly, obviously moved. “That’s amazing. ‘Like the sweet dawn, like the birds singing in the morning, soft and sweet.’ I’d almost say you were in love with me. I mean, I’m moved.” She stopped a moment. “What was that you said about Ana?”

    “That she is like Apollo, who carries the sun through the sky, proud, humbling, because you cannot look at the sun without having to look away. But it’s not an evil pride, because the sun is warm and a source of light.”

    “I just wanted to tell you that Ana is engaged. I know you like her, but she’s engaged.”
    “Well then,” Robert said, “it is the evening, so sing, mockingbird.”
    Emily laughed.
    “Have you ever heard mockingbirds sing in the evening?”
    “I don’t think so.”
    “It’s beautiful. They’ve been doing it at my house. Singing all night, too. So you’re not only like the dawn, but like the evening, since Apollo’s chariot descends in the western sky.”
    That ends the chapter, and Robert says


    think I shall call you Mockingbird,” Robert said to Emily. “Ana is Anastasia, and you can be Mockingbird. Is that fine?”


    So, should her nickname be capitalized? It looks awkward and distracting to me.
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  2. #2
    If it's being used as a proper noun (i.e., referring to a unique entity), then yes.

  3. #3
    Yep. Capitalize a nickname.
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  4. #4
    Creative Area Specialist (Fiction) Blade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander416 View Post
    If it's being used as a proper noun (i.e., referring to a unique entity), then yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by John Oberon View Post
    Yep. Capitalize a nickname.
    Yes, it may look 'awkward and distracting' without a capital but it looks improper and just plain naked without it.
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    A man like me don't like to see temptation caving in.
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  5. #5
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello Wain

    Great post and something I struggle with all the time.

    So, if my character says: 'Hi, Stanley,' Stanley is capitalized. Before I thought about this too much, in the same dialogue I would have written: 'Hi, Mate,' and Mate would have been capitalized. Similarly I capitalized my darlin', my friend, my pal, etc. But when I look at what a whole load of published writers do, that I must assume conforms to publishers' house styles, mate is not capitalized, nor is my darlin', my friend, my pal.

    A serious problem arises with one I'm struggling with right now:

    SHE: 'Behave yourself, mister close protection security consultant!'
    HE: 'Have you no shame, ms woman of mystery who isn't who she says she is?'

    If I capitalize the 'mister' then I'm contradicting the non-capitalization of 'mate', but I think I must capitalize'mister' because otherwise I must not capitalize 'ms' and that looks truly silly.

    God, I love this forum!

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
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  6. #6
    Convention says proper nouns should be capitalized, but there is nothing stopping you from writing a character who doesn't want their name to be capitalized. This could be part of their character, the question of whether or not you capitalize then becomes one of style.

    Tip.
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  7. #7
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello Tip

    Maybe it comes down to the definition of 'proper noun'. If 'Stanley' is a proper noun in; 'Hi, Stanley,' and it clearly is, what about the use of something such as 'pal' or 'my friend' as I discussed above? 'Pal' and 'my friend' clearly aren't nicknames which we can easily classify as proper nouns, whereas 'Shorty' and Blondie', for example, are, so it's possible to work with consistency in these situations.

    But what about, again as I discussed above, such constructions as: 'Hi, Mister taciturn,' or 'Hi, Ms sunshine?'

    I'm still confused.

    Blame it all on Wain who started this thread.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Riis Marshall View Post
    Hello Wain

    Great post and something I struggle with all the time.

    So, if my character says: 'Hi, Stanley,' Stanley is capitalized. Before I thought about this too much, in the same dialogue I would have written: 'Hi, Mate,' and Mate would have been capitalized. Similarly I capitalized my darlin', my friend, my pal, etc. But when I look at what a whole load of published writers do, that I must assume conforms to publishers' house styles, mate is not capitalized, nor is my darlin', my friend, my pal.

    A serious problem arises with one I'm struggling with right now:

    SHE: 'Behave yourself, mister close protection security consultant!'
    HE: 'Have you no shame, ms woman of mystery who isn't who she says she is?'

    If I capitalize the 'mister' then I'm contradicting the non-capitalization of 'mate', but I think I must capitalize'mister' because otherwise I must not capitalize 'ms' and that looks truly silly.

    God, I love this forum!

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    You're actually running up against several different kinds of problem here.

    In the case of nicknames, the name is capitalised because it is being used in place of the character's proper noun name. So, just as the nickname should be capitalised, you also capitalise words like 'Mum' and 'Dad' when they are being used in place of the person's name, e.g.

    "Hello, Mum," said Kate.

    But in the case where 'mum' is simply being used as a noun it remains uncapitalised.

    Kate's mum was a real life-saver.

    In the example you gave however, 'mate' is a colloquialism and is closest to a pronoun and can thereby be used to replace a proper noun without the need for capitalisation. The same goes for words like 'darling' where they are being used as pronouns and not proper nouns.

    And finally, 'Mister' and 'Ms' are capitalised because they are titles/honorifics in your example. No two ways around that. 'Mister', like other similar titles, has an informal use as a general term for addressing a stranger in place of their name. As it's an informal direct address it is a noun rather than a pronoun and doesn't need capitalisation.

    "Hey, mister, can I have one of those?"
    Last edited by popsprocket; September 5th, 2015 at 09:55 AM.
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  9. #9
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello Pop

    Thanks - nearly there.

    But my question is what I do with 'close protection security consultant' and 'woman of mystery'? Aren't they part of the titles and thus should be capitalized?

    Sorry to be awkward but I'm still not quite sure.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
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  10. #10
    Capitalize everything:

    Mister Close Protection Security Consultant
    Miss Woman Of Mystery Who Isn't Who She Says She Is
    John Oberon
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