Thursday, June 3, 2010

Twin Names

A friend of mine mentioned that her twin daughters were having a birthday and it got me to thinking about names. Parents want to give their children good names because they are likely to be stuck with the name for a very long time. We writers like to give our characters good names that fit the character. But I got to thinking about naming twins. A couple discovers the woman is pregnant and they begin thinking about names. Perhaps they settle on one—the others just aren’t good enough. Then the woman goes to the doctor and he says, “There’re two heartbeats in there.” Now the couple has to come up with another name. The day comes when the children are born and one gets one name and one gets the other. But who gets which name? Is it first come first served? I suppose it may be different for different folks, but when those two children are there in their parents’ arms, looking so much alike, there really isn’t much of a way to figure out which one should be Brad and which one should be Brian. I suppose that is why some cultures change their kids’ names after they get older.

But what if by the luck of the draw you were the twin who received the second name? Parents aren’t supposed to play favorites, but one of the children must have received the name they really wanted for their child and the other received the name that they had rejected. As writers, we play favorites with names. We give the “best” names to our favorite characters. We choose names that we think fit. This could be a problem if we’re writing a whodunit and give a character a name because we think it sounds like the name of a killer. Just something to think about.