We’re talking terms of endearment today. Or should I call them terms of irritation? I’ll tell you what I’m talking about.
Way back in the day, in one of my first critique groups, one of the gals hated it when I used the word baby in dialogue. As in, “I’m here for you, baby,”
Now this dialogue drove her crazy! She always circled the word baby. My term of endearment was her term of irritation.
Honestly, some people just talk that way. They are always using words like honey, baby, sweetheart, darling, and if you’re in the south, sugar. A lot of times it is girls talking to girlfriends, family, and even strangers.
But when we’re talking hero and heroines, those words can be tricky.
On one hand I want to say that alpha heros would be more likely to use endearments. But the other hand thinks beta heros could use them just as easily. If an alpha male calls the heroine baby, honey, it might be in a possessive tone, while the beta would use it in a sensitive way.
Alpha: “You’ll always be mine, baby.”
Beta: “Baby, I can’t live without you.”
I also like to use “nicknames.” My heros often give the heroine relevant nicknames.
Here’s an excerpt from my novel Rich in Hope. Set up required—He’s been running which is why he doesn’t have a shirt on, and she was taking clothes out of a drawer, which happened to be his “intimates” drawer-which is why he tosses his underwear on the counter. Total G novel–promise!!!
“All right, Cheetah.”
He did not just refer to me as animal. “Cheetah?”
“Cheetah. You’re a fast mover.”
He walks to the bathroom door, tosses his underwear on the counter, then makes his way back to the bed. “Let me be of assistance.”
Still trying to take in what has happened and regretting that I acquiesced to his demand I leave, I tap the luggage now zipped shut. “Be my guest.”
With his strength, my luggage slides easily off the bed, landing with a soft thud onto the stone-tiled floor. Then he grabs my bags, totally dispensing with the pull handles, and simply carries them the old-fashioned way.
With well-defined muscles.
Muscles I can’t ignore due to his total lack of upper-body clothing.
Very few situations have the ability to leave me feeling out of control. My scar is one of them.
And Stephen Day, who didn’t even blink at my now less-than-perfect face, is another one.
Yes, I consider Stephen a situation.
How else would you describe a man who hugs lions and calls a woman a cheetah?
Stephen is a wildlife photographer, so nicknaming Jenny, Cheetah, is a natural thing for him to do. It’s in his character.
And keeping in character is the only way a hero calling a heroine, Baby, Honey or a nickname he’s made up will work.
I’d love your thoughts as a reader about this? Do you see these names as terms of endearment or an irritation? Does the use of them bother you or do you read right on by, without being jarred at all.
Anyone who comments will have their name put in a drawing for a copy of the Richness in Faith series. Print or E-version. Winner’s choice.
Thank you for always giving amazing feedback that really helps when writing new stories.