When writing any story, one of the hardest things for me to do is name my characters. I can tell you their life story, fears, motivations, and where they will be at the end of the story, but I can’t tell you their name. Fantasy characters are the worst. Trying to come up with a unique and fitting name that matches the feel of the world I have created yet doesn’t look like an altered modern name can be an impossible feat. That is usually the time I decide to look for a little help. Baby naming books and sites can help if you are looking for modern names, but how do you find the perfect fantasy name? Enter the generator. I’m not talking about the noisy, fume-spewing, electricity producing type of generator. I’m talking about name generators.
There are many different websites available that offer name generators. Some even offer different types of generators. You can find help for plot and story ideas, settings, characters, and systems of magic. I have even found generators that help with government and world creation. While some are good for amusement and time-wasting purposes only, others can help the floundering writer in many ways. If you are suffering from writer’s block, the writing prompts can get your creative juices flowing. No matter how silly or useless the end result is, sometimes it’s all you need to knock the cobwebs out of your brain. If you’re looking for an unusual sword or castle description, a generator may be just the place to look.
I use the name generators frequently when naming characters for fantasy novels. I may search for several minutes before I find the right one, but I have had a lot of success using this method when all others have failed. Below are a few of the sites I use most often. They are not the only ones out there, just the ones I’ve found most useful so far.
While these sites will not replace your own imagination and creativity, they can certainly help when you find yourself stuck and looking for a name or description. Think of them as a pensieve of unusual things you can sift through at your leisure.
Where do you go when you’re looking for names and ideas?