Thoughts on naming flow

While I don’t think all parts of a name have to exactly “match,” there’s a lot to be said for a name flowing well together. Balance is so important, as is having the same general style. Here are some examples of names which flow well, some of them taken from my own characters. I’ll also be giving examples of names which I feel don’t flow so well.

1. The same amount of syllables in both names. This gives such a perfect balance and harmony to a name. Neither first nor middle name is overloaded or underloaded. For example:

Ernestine Zénobie
Emeline Rosalie
Adicia Éloïse
Thomas Albert
Carlos Ghislain
Maxwell Stanley

2. Pairing a one-syllable forename with a longer middle name. Having both names be short seems too staccato and abrupt to me. A multisyllabic middle name feels like such a perfect complement to a short and sweet first name. For example:

Eve Anastasia
Bruce Gabriel
George Reginald
Skye Leonarda
Grace Roxana
Bram Achilles

3. On the flip side, pairing a very long forename (three syllables or more) with a one-syllable middle name. For example:

Anastasia Maeve
Graciela Niamh (NEEV)
Zacharias Quinn
Vyacheslav Paul
Neonila Sage
Giovanni York

4. The 2+3 or 3+2 combo has a really great balance. Though one name is slightly longer or shorter than the other, these combos tend to flows very well. Examples:

Dafna Zehava
Quintessa Malka
Yehudah Barak
Pamelia Zera
Winston Tzuriel
Roger Elisha

5. Mileage may vary, but I feel like it’s too much of a mouthful to have two polysyllabic names in a row. There are so many lovely names with three or more syllables, but when both parts of a name are that long, it feels like neither is able to shine the way it deserves. Examples:

Aphrodite Ghisolabella
Benvolio Agamemnon
Oceana Anastasia
Octavia Victoriana
Ferdinand Mandarias
Algernon Giorgio

6. Mileage again may vary, but I’m not keen on names that seem to run into one another as a single long name when said out loud. This usually happens when the first name ends in the same sound the middle name starts with. Examples:

Isabelle Leah
Liam Ammiel
Rachel Ella
Achilles Lester
Roxana Annabelle
Tamar Mara
Oskar Arnold

7. It might sound cute, cool, or funny at first, but names meant as phrases can quickly wear out. Some can work beautifully, but others sound kind of corny and silly. I’m more likely to give them a pass if they sound original, and like they might have deeper meaning to the parents. Examples:

Vienna Dawn (Love this!)
Odessa Rose (Nice!)
Caledonia Winter (Lovely!)
April May June (Nope!)
Prairie Meadow (Not a fan!)
Summer Rain (Corny!)
Winter Snow (Corny!)
Happy Destiny (Nope!)
Forrest Cloud (Nope!)

8. While I don’t feel one NEEDS to stay within one’s own culture for names (as long as one respects the other culture), it can feel jarring if the first and middle names are from drastically different languages. Examples:

Hideyo Sebastiano
Zeuxippe Arundhati
Arjuna Guillaume
Elikapeka Yeong-Hui
Avishai Chukwuemeka
Ingrid Scheherazade

9. If multiple middle names are used, it flows best if they’re all about the same length. Catholics get a second middle name upon Confirmation, but sometimes multiple middle names are given at birth, for various reasons. Perhaps the parents know they’re only going to have one child, and so only have one chance to use all the name they love most. Perhaps this is their only child of a certain sex, and they know they won’t be having more kids. The child may have had a very rocky start, and so merits an additional name with very special meaning. Or maybe it’s just family tradition or personal preference.

Examples:

Chana Esther Dafna (my own Hebrew name)
Alice Louise Julia
Micah Robert Jonas
Philip Roger David
John Paul Anthony
Livia Aurora Daphne

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