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Random name generators

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by filkata, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. filkata

    filkata New Member

    Hello, a coder here. Been working on a random name generator mobile app with a focus on generating truly random but pronounceable names, not something off a pregenerated list like Bob Johnson, but more like 'Lafrea' and 'Jakilson', but you wont get anything like 'Ghtrhjksx'.

    I am wondering if you guys find such a tool useful? In what context? What option would make such a tool more useful?
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I use them already and there are a more than a few out there. One of my faves is donjon. I find the Markov generator especially useful as it lets me choose what sort of names I want it to riff off.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I would like a tool that understands how naming works (linguistics). It would generate place names according to a set of rules on how place names work, which would be different from how personal names or family names work. Or names for objects. There is not one, universal set of rules for these things, so the software would let me pick. Ideally it would also provide some (consistent) variants of spelling.

    As an example, think of how towns are named. There is often a reference to geography appended, so we get Whateverburg or Whatevercastle. In French, lots of towns named for the neighboring river--Whatever sur Rive. This, whereas geographic entities themselves often have their attribute as part of the name; e.g., the North Sea. It's not just "the North," although it can be either the Rhine or the Rhine River. Word order gets odd here. Here in America we call it Lake Superior; almost never is it Superior Lake. But over in Oregon it's Crater Lake and not Lake Crater. Humans are funny that way. The River Styx but not the Styx River.

    Anyway, every name generator I've seen has little or no sense of these considerations. Names are generated at random rather than the name being part of a larger geographic and historical context. You can produce plenty of names this way, but it's hard to weave a world from such a source.
  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    I've mentioned the Everchanging Book of Names before. One of the podcasters from Writing Excuses mentioned it once, so I gave it a go. I love it. I use it all the time. I've even been able to build my own "library" based on male American names; basically, it's a data set of names that EBoN uses to generate new names.

    One thing I'll do when beginning a new project is to generate long lists of names I can return to whenever I need a new name for a story. Since each library has a cultural base, this helps to keep new names sounding like they belong in a single fantasy locale. If I have more than one culture in my world, I'll generate lists for each culture.

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