For years I’ve been collecting links to interesting and helpful writing tools/tips/essays and storing them in one folder on my bookmark bar. That folder is now a monstrosity, and it’s become rather difficult to find anything in it, but it is also a treasure trove of word-related tools. So, the thought occurred to me that I might share some of these tools with my friends and readers who enjoy creating. Whether you beat your head against novels-in-progress or role playing games, I think you’ll find something interesting and helpful in this series of posts (starting today) which have titled The Writer’s Toolbox.
Random Name Generators
One of the great things about writing speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi and horror) is that you get to visit new worlds in your imagination. Sometimes those worlds are unique to your twisted brain, and sometimes they are based on a region of our Earth. Either way, you want names that fit. Your towns and townsmen need to have names that are plausibly related. It doesn’t help to have three hundred “John Smith’s” in the town of Middlebrook, and one “Farooz Rashid” (unless Farooz has a great back story). It breaks the plausibility of your world if character’s names seem out of place.
When I building a world for my stories, I usually start by naming the places in that world, and the people who populate it. So I present to you a trio of very useful random name generation websites to help you get started:
Mithril and Mages has a very cool city and town name generator which contains millions of real-world city and town names and a very easy-to-use interface for filtering by the cultural flavour you are most interested in.
Serendipity has a one-click name generator for countries, continents and islands. You could probably use these names for other things too. There’s nothing stopping you.
Behind the Name’s random name generator is, by far, my favorite of these name machines. It has a ton of options, but not so many that it is overwhelming, and a great database (unless you want to randomly generate Ghanaian names in which case EVERY name has one of two surnames).
Let me throw in a couple of other sites that I’ve found useful over the years:
The Seventh Sanctum has a variety of idea generators for everything from story prompts (if you just want to hammer out a quick short story for practice) to magical items.
The Fantasy World generator will generate a fractal map for you to use in your fantasy world. I’ve had mixed results, but you may find just the thing you need with this. There are also a bunch of other generators available on the site.
Well, that’s it for today. I hope you find something you can use here.
Do you have any links to other generators? Share them in the comments.
Do you have any Writer’s Toolbox Requests? You can share those in the comments too.
Until next time, happy writing.