Name Generators - The Art of World Building
Jul 292021
 
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Free name generators exist on the internet. Most focus on character names, but we can leverage the results for places or things, too. Some of them allow us to choose what sort of name we’d like, such as Elvish or Klingon. We can also choose the gender. The resulting names will fit the style we’ve chosen, though this feature won’t help us much if we’ve invented our own species.

The generators can make naming much faster and easier. With a button click, we get dozens of potential names. If we don’t like them, another click generates another batch. A side-effect of so many shown to us is that we can become picky and quickly dismissive. This may be why I personally have found most of the results to be poor and unusable, but your luck or standards may differ. We can also use such a name as a starting point, altering it using the techniques in this chapter.

One negative to this is that it lacks creativity. A program is doing the work for us. This reduces or eliminates a personal connection to the result; having less investment in the world we’ve invented can make us care less about it, which might show in our work and impact the audience’s connection for the worse, too. Our personality is also missing. If there’s an impression we’re hoping to create with names, the name generators are less likely than our minds to produce what we seek.

A few name generators are listed here, the first having over a thousand styles from which to choose and includes places, objects, and more:

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