Monday, January 24, 2011

Name game

Naming characters. For me, it's the most loathsome chore in the whole fiction writing process.

Up until two months ago, I used to spend many precious hours trying to concoct perfect character names. Is it cool enough? Is it bland enough? Is it to cool that it's cliche? Would anyone actually name their child that? As a person who is going through an anti-outline period right now, running a thousand combinations of first and last names through my head is not acceptable when a new character pops into the scene. Especially, when the keyboard is on fire.

As I do with everything else, I turned to the all knowing Googles for help. What I found was not only a random name generator, but an identity generator. not only generates a name for any specified gender and ethnicity, but also phone numbers, addresses, descriptions and even fake Mastercard numbers. The level of detail the site gives you on a person that doesn't exists, borders on sketchy. No doubt, fraudulent identities are created day in and day out here.

Outside of the randomly generated names, I haven't used any of the other information for my characters, but I could see this site being great for spontaneous flash fiction. Get your name/identity and go. 1000 words on William E. Turman in 60 minutes.

Unless the character's name needs to have a symbolic value or is supposed to reflect the character's personality or is a magical Zebra that speaks with a Cajun accent, I highly recommend this site for fleshing out those names.

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