Monday, August 9, 2010

The Name's the Thing

One of the tasks I find hard and onerous when writing is naming minor characters. Major characters are planned, crafted, and developed almost as carefully as the story. Minor characters, however, are usually created as needed, quickly without thought. Ideally, I shouldn't do that. Ideally, each character should be as complete as every other. But who has time to do that? I don't.

So to make my job easily I sometimes use a name generator. There are many available these days. One is available at  Many more are available at If you search for "name generator" with Google, you'll find several more.

For the record, I've used and usually have to click a few times to get a name I like. In other cases, I only want a first or last name because I already have the other piece I need. The other generators I've not used because they look promising. But I can't promise anything.

I have others too. Some of for my old Palm PDA; others run on my iPhone.  Most of these aren't very good and are for naming places or swords or if they generator a person's name, the options for select it are poor. For example, on iPhone apps is called npc namer. It lets you create fantasy names or names for a dwarf, roc, gnome, or elf.  Using the fantasy name option gives you names like: claa or doisaa. I have no idea if these are first names or last name. The names for the other races are equally bad. For example, elven names include sai and nnevan; dwarven names include brkra and vrukt.

The best way I've found to generate a name is to a desktop application called the GURPS Character Sheet. The purpose of the app is to let people playing GURPS (an RPG) handle all the stats of their character. As it happens, the app also lets you randomly create names for these characters. It is pretty good actually.  It is available from Check it out.

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