Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Writer Roundup: 20,000 Names

Yikes. I've been so caught up in drafting, I've completely neglected the last few Friday Writer Roundups. My apologies. This book has stolen my attention quite effectively.

But I'm here today, however late, with one of my favorite resources: 20,000 Names.

When it comes to naming websites, it's not the most glamorous, but it's by far my favorite. It gives the ethnic origin, the meaning, and the traditional gender of all the names it lists. And, while I can't say for certain that they actually list 20,000 individual names on their website, it wouldn't surprise me if that number was at least close.

But there's another one I find almost as useful: the Social Security Administration's Baby Names Section. It only really helps with American names, for obvious reasons, but it has lists of the top hundred or so names for boys and girls in any decade from the 1880s to the 2000s. Which makes it awesome for NPC characters. Just give a guess to their age, subtract it from the date your work is set, and then go through that decade's listing until something catches your attention.

Of course, there are always other alternatives. SeventhSanctum has several name generators in its depths, including Angel Names, Vampire Names, and plain General Names. Another one that can be useful, and also make a very good breeding ground for procrastination, is Behind the Name's generator. You can customize your generator for several factors (origin, masculine/feminine, style), and have it provide you with a matching surname, or provide your own. The downside? It does one at a time only.

So, I hope you have a lovely rest of your Friday. And don't forget, there's still time to enter the drawing for free copies of Zirkua Fantastic and The Jester Prince.


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