Ever since I first felt the romantic stirrings of youth, I wondered what pet name the future love of my life would bestow upon me. I’ve had other nicknames like J from my friends, Nelly which only my mom is allowed to use, and the military gave me mini Ski (my husband had already claimed Ski, go figure) and Smuckers (J’nell -> J’nelly -> Jelly -> Smuckers). But from my husband, eh, nothing. Needless to say, I’m slightly disappointed. He’s just not an endearment kinda guy unless it’s a blue moon. That’s ok, I still love him.
Of course my love of pet names works its way into my writing. How could it not? Sometimes the names are used in love, sometimes sarcasm, but I always try to find a meaningful one for the characters and their story. Not that honey or sweetheart are bad, but they don’t always imply something truly unique. We writers like our characters unique. Especially if they’re in a foreign tongue. Petit chou, mo chridhe. They always make me squeal with delight when I stumble upon them.
Sometimes the names come easily and other times I spend hours scouring the internet for inspiration. Strangely, angel pants, hot honey, and pookie just don’t do it for me. When that fails and the gears just aren’t clicking I keep on writing in hopes inspiration will strike. And it usually does. In the story I’m writing now the hero made a reference to the roses on the heroine’s dress. Only they weren’t roses, they were poppies. A fact she was quick to point out, but let’s face it, men don’t always know the difference. Months into this story and endless days of racking my brain, and then BAM! I’d written the answer without realizing it. Poppy.
Wherever you find inspiration, make sure it’s true to the characters, and like a spice, only add it to kick up the flavor from time to time. No one likes too much pepper. A sad fact I learned from my first story when I was enamored with kilted warriors. Lass and lassie littered my pages and earned many any eye roll from my beta reader. Ok, my mom, and we all know moms have no problem telling us the truth even when we’re trying to create a Highland heartthrob.