Name Theory: Quirky Nicknames

Yesterday I was writing the name James and I stopped after the first three letters.


Jam, I thought to myself, would be a great name for a young guy trying to find himself. His father was in a band and had the brilliant idea to name him Jam, but his mother insisted he needed a “real” name. So they name him James and call him Jam.

Just a little twist on a popular and classic name gives it a lot of personality, history, and quirk, without being too out there.

I was wondering what other classic guys names have quirky nickname potential.

For Michael, instead of Mike/Mick/Mac, I suggest the quirkier Cael. He’s Michael Smith the third, who wants to distance himself from his father, and starts calling himself Cael. He has issues that no amount of love will solve, as his girlfriends can attest.

The former George is now Gorge to his friends. He took a schoolyard taunt and made it his own. Gorge lost a lot of weight, got buff, and now is a trainer. He’s constantly pushing himself to do more and be more, and he takes a lot of risks. Maybe even one too many risks.

David, who grew up “comfortable”, decides to become the college drug dealer Vid. He’s a side character with some great lines, one who never seems affected. But when times get rough, he’s right there to lend a surprise hand.

I’ve never been big on nicknames for my characters. Some of them have them, but some don’t. But the idea of a unique nickname came to me for a potential middle grade novel, and with that twist, the generic boy with issues became a “best friend” character with great potential for something more.


One thought on “Name Theory: Quirky Nicknames

  1. I have read a book where there was a main character called James ‘Jam’ – Girl, Missing by Sophie Mackenzie (or at least, I’m pretty sure that’s where I read it!) . It suited the character down to a T.

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