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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lana & Alan & I

Of the procrastination techniques I've devised to deflect my numerous attempts at long form writing, one of the most effective is perpetual indecision about names I'll use for couples. Toiling at the keyboard, some pairings of names just snap when said aloud while others fall flat. For instance, how could anyone discount the fictional palindromic coupling of Otto and Ava?  To avoid directly disrespecting any family or friends, I'll instead cite the ubiquitous Brad and Angelina as an example of a serious syllabic mismatch I won't be using in my literary masterpiece. That glamorous duet may have pizzazz but I'm sorry, their names do not pop when said or read as a pair. Now Rebecca and Sebastian, Eve & Paul, Penelope and Alexander? Different story.

Try this experiment. Write a limerick and see if two names you'd consider using in a Great American Novel like mine have a pleasing rhythmic bounce in any verse you create. (Or, if you're feeling brave, try it with your name and your partner's.) If the names you selected do not sing together, they're not good enough. I've spent time fussing about whether reducing William to Bill and Barbara to Barb will provide the needed lift to an unfinished passage about that couple. I've also given too much thought to whether nicknames will help both my cadences and my story. If readers are to later warm to Mildred and Rudolph as my opus unfolds, mustn't they slowly become Millie and Rudy? Nice ring, right? When the ready-made pun name Matt (as in "What is the name of the guy who lies on the floor near the front door?") felt right for one of my characters, the remaining half of that duo was named Art briefly until I came to my senses.

Try, if you dare, to imagine how this goes when an androgynous name like Terry sounds good as 50% of a partnership to this insecure blogger with big dreams. It may be time for me to be satisfied with one perfectly named couple and let go of the rest. What do you say, Lana & Alan? Ready for your close up?

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