1. Starts with a vowel
2. Contains an unusual letter (such as Q, V, X or Z)
3. Contains "an"
Currently being considered are Quinlan (though it might be too gender-ambiguous, says my reader) and Orlando (though it's probably too "out-there"). Off the table are Ewan and Ethan (which are too close to Evan) and Zane (which is too close to Xander).
It was hard to find a relatively normal-sounding name with all three of the above traits. The only name I came up with was Octavian, which is pretty unwieldy. (Then again, it's the same length as Alexander, and the nicknames "Tave" and "Tavy" are cute, so who knows?)
I did come up with other names that partially satisfied the requirements, though...
- Bryson, Conan, Devin, Felix, Isaac, Isaiah, Isidore, Jacques, Joaquim, Kenyon, Kevin, Lennox, Levi, Maxim, Maxwell, Nolan, Owen, Pasquale and Quentin have one of the above traits, while
- Adrian, Alban, Alvin, Angus, Ansel, Anselm, Anthony, Armand, Axel, Bryant, Donovan, Dylan, Enrique, Enzo, Ezekiel, Ezra, Ian, Irving, Ivan, Ivor, Maximilian, Odran, Oliver, Urban, Yancy, Yannick, Yves and Zenon have two.
My personal favorites out of the names above are:
Xander, Evan and Quentin - I can understand why my reader might be cautious about using Quinlan, so maybe Quentin, with that hard T-sound, will stand less of a chance of becoming a dual-gender name. (FYI: Neither name has ever ranked on the U.S. top 1,000 for females, though Quinn has been there for a while now.) Also, Quentin could be spelled "Quentan" if need be (to get that "an" in there).
Xander, Evan and Max(imilian) - Maxwell and Maxim would also work for this nickname, but Maximilian sounds a bit more regal/classic to me, and it also has that "an" ending.
Xander, Evan and Izzy (from Isaac) - There's no way to jam the "an" into Isaac (or Isaiah or Isidore, for that matter), but the name does start with a vowel and contain a definite Z-sound. The only problem here is that Izzy is also a common nickname for Isabella (and the like), which brings us back to that tricky gender-ambiguity problem.
(If you need help finding a name, please stop by the forum and tell us about it! We'd love to help.)