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Old 02-27-2015, 10:08 AM   #1
SandraMustard
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Dialogue question.

In dialogue, I want to express a person saying only the first syllable of the name Suzie. I don't know whether to spell a shortened 'Suz' or phonetically like 'Sooze'. The first looks right but I'm afraid a reader will give it a short 'u' sound. I have the full 'Suzie' outside the dialogue just two sentences before so it should be clear.

Forgive my over analyzing, but what do y'all think?
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:19 AM   #2
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I think the first syllable of /suziy/ is /su/; the second syllable is /ziy/. If I wanted to write the "Suz" nickname, I'd likely try "Sooz" if I thought "Suz" would be misheard.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:38 AM   #3
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I'd go with "Suze," myself; I think that's what I've seen written before but I couldn't provide a link to anything. But "Sooz" is also good. Either one gets the right sound across.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:40 AM   #4
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I agree with PL. I tend to have characters use nicknames in dialogue, but the full name in narration. Most readers catch on pretty quick.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:41 AM   #5
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You're right Tio. I want the nickname, more than the first syllable. But 'Sooz' just looks too odd. Here is the context:
Quote:
Suzie turned to catch me staring. "You want some of me?"

Lisa's rebuke was stern. "Back off, Suz."
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:43 AM   #6
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I like your idea, PL
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandraMustard View Post
I like your idea, PL
I'd also go with Suze. Definitely not Sooz - just looks wrong!

(I'm very visual. And audial, and... )
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:52 AM   #8
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Yes. I'll have to agree. Audiovisually Suze looks best. I also think it is the standard English version of that nickname. Sorry for having overlooked it.
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by shutterpsb View Post
I agree with PL. I tend to have characters use nicknames in dialogue, but the full name in narration. Most readers catch on pretty quick.
That's my approach too, same as with contractions. <rant> IMHO narrative is clearest when it's formal and grammatical. Dialogue is, well, flawed and human. And even though we don't write dialogue the way people actually speak, we get a closer approximation. </rant> And yes, go with Suze. As it happens, I'm writing a period Western piece containing this setup:
Conor was taken in by two Hopi sisters with a rough and tidy home outside Walpi pueblo on First Mesa. The cowboy called them Sue and Lue because he lacked patience and accent to say Suyala'Ngwa (Winter Deer) and Lumahongva (Beautiful Clouds).
I'm torn. Do I write their vocalized nicknames as Sue and Lue, or Soo and Loo, or Su and Lu, or (to be ironic) Sü and Lü (with umlauts)?
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypoxia View Post
I'm torn. Do I write their vocalized nicknames as Sue and Lue, or Soo and Loo, or Su and Lu, or (to be ironic) Sü and Lü (with umlauts)?
I'd write "Sue" and "Lou." He's Americanizing the names, right? That's how they'd be written for American names.
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:41 AM   #11
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If the reader already knows her name you can go with Suz.
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:35 PM   #12
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Give all your characters one syllable names. Problem solved!

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Old 02-27-2015, 12:43 PM   #13
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I personally know someone who gets called the shortened version of Susan. In email her friend types "Sooz." I asked her about this when I read your post. She said she thought "Suze" reads to her like "Excuse" or "use."

I'm not a writer and don't know if this has any bearing on your situation but thought I'd throw it into the ring.
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:43 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by QuietLibrarian View Post
I personally know someone who gets called the shortened version of Susan. In email her friend types "Sooz." I asked her about this when I read your post. She said she thought "Suze" reads to her like "Excuse" or "use."

I'm not a writer and don't know if this has any bearing on your situation but thought I'd throw it into the ring.
ETA: She hates being called Sooz. lol
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jomar View Post
If the reader already knows her name you can go with Suz.
True, but as a reader, if I saw that my initial reaction would be to read it with a short u, as "suhz." I guess because we're taught to use the long vowel sound when we see the silent e at the end of a word.
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:13 PM   #16
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Add the 'E' and make it "Suze".
I think it's absolutely clear, then.
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:22 PM   #17
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I'd write "Sue" and "Lou." He's Americanizing the names, right? That's how they'd be written for American names.
I thought about that but Lou just strikes me wrong. (Reminds me of the joke: "Yey, fella, what's your name?" "They call me Tex." "You from Texas, then?" "No, I'm from Louisiana." "Then how come your name is Tex?" "Because I don't like to be called Louise." Okay, shoot me now.)

Anyway, the story context: Conor (white trash from Tennessee) is a cowboy in 1890's Arizona -- think of a Zane Grey setting. The Hopi names aren't so much Americanized as Dixiefied. I'd go with Soo and Loo except for the implications of the latter.

[/me smacks forehead, leaves big dent] Wait, I have a solution. I'll find a Hopi name other than Lumahongva (Beautiful Clouds). A name that starts with Ru- and can be Dixified as Rue. Sue and Rue. Yeah, that'll work. [/me pats self on back, strains arm] [/me looks up Hopi names -- oh bugger --ain't none that start with R -- guess I'll have to fake it -- I know, Lue/Lou/Lu has a lisp and pronounces her name Rumahongva so he calls her Rue. Whew.]
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:27 PM   #18
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What's the motivation of just taking one letter off of it in dialogue just to save one letter? Seems just confusing to the reader for me. A shortened name for Suzie, though, would be Suz. In either case I would know that the "u" would be said with an "ooo" sound.
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:47 PM   #19
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Or you could go with "Sue". Do you really need the "z"?
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:08 PM   #20
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When I read either one of these I get a slightly different vibe. It's all about the way people read into how "proper" the writing is.

Because it is so loose and informal, Sooz seems close and endearing. It's as if the person saying this is very close and friendly with Susan.

Suz and Suze feel more like someone is just repeating what others call Susan.
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Old 02-27-2015, 03:58 PM   #21
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This is getting out of hand. I had named her Suzie for no particular reason. These are girlfriend/roommates so when I came to a short dialogue exchange, I opted to try a typical nickname but agonized over how to spell it.

Fuck it. I'm changing the whole tenor of the sentence. Since Suzie was flirting with Lisa's latest boyfriend, "Back off, Suze." becomes "Back off, bitch." Problem solved.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:03 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandraMustard View Post
Fuck it. I'm changing the whole tenor of the sentence. Since Suzie was flirting with Lisa's latest boyfriend, "Back off, Suze." becomes "Back off, bitch." Problem solved.
And they all lived happily ever after.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:18 PM   #23
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Fuck it. I'm changing the whole tenor of the sentence. Since Suzie was flirting with Lisa's latest boyfriend, "Back off, Suze." becomes "Back off, bitch." Problem solved.
Not really if I was the reader. I wouldn't know why you just took out the "i." I see that final "e" as confusing and wondering what different it's trying to tell me from either "Suzie" or "Suz." But it's yours to do as you like with, and it's sort of a really small detail to be getting hung up on.
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Old 02-27-2015, 05:49 PM   #24
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Just tossing in that Suzie is usually a nick name for Susan-I'm pretty sure- so her nick name has a nick name...
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Old 02-27-2015, 09:20 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Not really if I was the reader. I wouldn't know why you just took out the "i." I see that final "e" as confusing and wondering what different it's trying to tell me from either "Suzie" or "Suz." But it's yours to do as you like with, and it's sort of a really small detail to be getting hung up on.
It is a detail, and not worth too much trouble, but I think it's interesting how different people would pronounce things as they see them written. If I saw "Suz," like I said, my first reaction would be to hear "Suhz" in my head. "Suze," to me, would be "Sooz" and not "Sooz-ee." If I wanted that, I'd write "Suzie" or "Susie" (I've seen both). Perhaps just going with "Sue" is easier if the author is really concerned.

It reminds me a bit of an older thread about names like Sean/Shawn. If I see "Sean," I think of a guy, whereas "Shawn" to me would indicate a woman. But that wouldn't work for everyone.
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