Naming Names

For years, whenever I needed a character name I defaulted to names like

Jon
Kate
Mel
Jeff

I favored single syllable names, even shortening Elaine to Laine for a piece I wrote years ago. I’m in recovery now. I pick names like

Tally
Sandu
Elena, shortened to Lena

with two syllables. Give me five years and I’ll add a three syllable guest to the party.

Today I heard about a What Your Name Would Be quiz and thought: character names! I gave my name, birth year and sex and found out Mom would have named me Sandra if I’d been born in the 1950s and Ethel if I’d been born in the 1890s. Today I’d be Ava. I put in my daughter’s name and have another thirteen names to choose from: Kendra, Jaunita, Marion, Beulah, Ollie. Grant, my son, got me Patrick, Ramon, Felix, Sol and Archibald. Archibald! My husband’s name yielded Kyle, Travis, Terry, Lawrence and Eugene. (Also Jack, one of my favorite standby character names).

There you go. Need a character name? Take what a quiz spits.

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