|Find your character a name: click here|
In February, I posted about a cool "what-if" generator. Sites like this are good for laughs and for sparks that you can turn into stories, but they're a little on the novelty side. Name generators, on the other hand, can be very useful in a day-to-day way if you don't intend your character names to be deeply symbolic and if you don't want to waste time, energy, and creativity coming up with names, especially for secondary characters.
Many generators have various versions or settings, so you can search for names for anything from Japanese women or French men to colonial Americans, rappers, and English kings. If your writing's a little more on the speculative side, you can search for elves, super villains, robots, heroic orcs, and a whole lot of other character types. Some sites also have place name generators where you can discover the perfect name for your a small town, lake, hospital, planet, or mystic temple.
Generators should not replace your own creativity, but especially for minor characters and places only mentioned in passing, or if you're really stuck, they can be a life saver.
Fantasy Name Generator (also includes a lot of not-fantasy names)
Rinkworks (mostly aimed at fantasy, with cool settings like "very long names," "vowel-heavy names," and "mushy names")
Seventh Sanctum (One option based on names from US census data, many fantasy options including things like "dark elf" and "pirate ship")
You'll discover many others online.
So, whether you need a name like Deidre Gordon, Ronaldo Jiménez, Alouko, or Swiftdemon the Striker, there's a name generator out there for you.
Melinda Brasher currently teaches English as a second language in the beautiful Czech Republic. She loves the sound of glaciers calving and the smell of old books. Her travel articles and short fiction appear in Go Nomad, International Living, Electric Spec, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and others. For an e-book collection of some of her favorite published pieces, check out Leaving Home. For something a little more medieval, read her YA fantasy novel, Far-Knowing. Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com.