Showing posts with label generators. Show all posts
Showing posts with label generators. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Finding names for your characters


Find your character a name: click here  
If you're like me, you sometimes have a hard time coming up with names for your characters.  This can be especially difficult in fantasy and science fiction.  One solution:  online name generators.

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.

My favorites:
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 JimĂ©nez, 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 NomadInternational LivingElectric SpecIntergalactic 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-KnowingVisit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Randomness to Spark Creativity


A while back I was playing with an online story idea generator. It puts random things together and gets ideas like this:

What if Marco Polo fought Lewis Carroll?
What if Columbus had access to robotics?
What if Montezuma was indirectly responsible for the Klondike Gold Rush?
What if the destruction of the Hindenburg involved witch-hunters?

So I had to laugh when I got to this one:
What if the fall of Mankind from the Garden of Eden involved forbidden knowledge?

It reminded me of the theory that a room full of monkeys tapping at keyboards for an infinite time period will eventually type Hamlet.

As a writer, I'm full of ideas, but sometimes none of them are the right idea for the moment, or they're just not gelling.  When I need inspiration, sometimes the randomness of these generators will spark an idea that my imagination then builds a fire with.  

You'll find all sorts of generators online: completely random but sometimes intriguing nonsense like above, customizable back-cover blurbs created from information you input, alien world generators, etc.  Obviously, your own imagination should do most of this for you, but taking a few minutes to laugh at the randomness will prime your creative pump if you find you're stuck in a rut.

Here's Seventh Sanctum's What-if-inator, where I got the above what ifs.



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 NomadInternational LivingElectric SpecIntergalactic 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-KnowingVisit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com.


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