Character of the Week: Twin Names

I recently realized that in my family of cool names, my twins have boring names. Please help me rename them.

This is one of several examples of people who asked me to rename characters for them (in most cases I was left to guess that the original names just didn’t fit who the characters were). Here, as with most of these renamings, I wish the writer had given me the original names so that I would know where he or she was going with the names and so that I wouldn’t accidentally chose the same name without being able to say what I liked about it.

Female (both), about age 25, Contemporary
They moved around a lot when they were young, but at the time of the story they’ve settled in the Pacific Northwest area (Washington/Oregon/Northern California/Nevada).
Dad’s a private pilot. He’s not around much and when he is the kids are all eager to impress him. Mother’s an independent hippie artist/musician, and an intensely cool mom who her kids adore.

  • Mom: Alessia
  • Older Sister: Temperance
  • Older Brother: Silas Cobain
  • Younger Brother: Schuyler Paxton
  • Older Step-sister: Lacey
  • Older Step-brother: Hunter

They start out as students. One wants to become a writer but might become a lawyer instead (or both, John Grisham style).
Young Adult/Emerging Adult

While the writer gave me a decent amount of information about the family dynamics (which I’ve edited down), he or she didn’t give me much information about the characters themselves. I did look at the names the writer was using as somewhat of an inspiration. I liked that the names chosen for the mom’s children are all slightly quirky while the step-children’s names are more common-sounding.

I tend to like cutesy, matchy-matchy names for twins—the kind of name pairs that would make most people gag. I needed to get an idea for how people with twins really name them, and I decided to give the writer a selection of types of twin naming. I went to the Social Security Administration’s Popular Baby Names site and read through their listing of girl-girl twin names. Some of the names were obviously too currently popular, and therefore too young for these twins, but I used some of the names there to create these pairings.

  • Marilyn (Mara) and Rosalyn: A rhyming pair.
  • Scarlett and Stella: Same beginning initial which matches the biological brothers.
  • Isabelle and Beatrice: Long, feminine but not flowery names which have nickname potential.
  • Rita and Paola: Spanish names to reflect the tastes of a wondering family.
  • Ursula and Sabina: Uncommon but feminine names with the popular –a ending.

I would have loved to see the writer chose the last pair, especially now that I notice most of her names have two syllables while this pair are three-syllable names; however, people like what they like. (Note: While I read Beatrice as a three-syllable name, I believe this writer reads it as a two-syllable name.)

The writer responded: I’m inspired. I modified one a little bit: I’m going with Isla and Beatrice. Thanks for your help!

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