My turn for a Friday post has rolled around again. This week’s topic is a list of five… anythings. I’ve chosen a topic that writers spend a lot of time on.
Below is a list of five places I get ideas for naming people, places, or things. (I have more, but I’m only allowed five.)
- TV/movie/play credits.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger list in one place (except maybe a phone book, and not many of us have those anymore). I never use a full name (the same person’s first and last) but I have no problem taking a director’s first name and a costumer’s last name and putting the two together.
- Sports rosters.
If you follow me on any social media platform, you probably know I’m from the Pittsburgh area and am a huge fan of the Steelers, Penguins, and even the not-doing-so-well Pirates. Athletes have great names, and they come from various nationalities. (For example, you can find a lot of Eastern European, Swedish, and French names in hockey—like Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist, and Mario Lemieux, respectively.) Once again, I don’t take a whole name, but I might mix and match or use a last name with a first from somewhere else.
When I go to pay my respects to departed loved ones, I always take the time to look around. It’s interesting to note the changes in name trends throughout the years, and if you’re writing a historical, old graveyards are great places to look. Again, I wouldn’t use a full name of someone, but combine one person’s first and another person’s last.
I have to admit, I got this one from Supernatural. When the guys pretend to be FBI agents while they investigate murders, they frequently use the last names of classic rock band members (like Agents Plant and Page). I wouldn’t put two recognizable rock star names in the same book (unless maybe I was doing a campy music-themed story), but cherry-picking names works just fine.
- Name Generators.
Yeah, this is a given (like baby name sites). I only mention it because I want to share one of my favorites with you, Mithril & Mages. It not only generates people names, it generates cities, businesses, places, and genre-specific options from under the “Name Generator” tab. If you click the other tabs, it’s even more specific, giving options as detailed as medieval, fantasy, cyberpunk, job titles, diseases, and a lot more.
So there you have it: five places to come up with names for the characters (and other things) in your stories. I listed five of my favorites. Now it’s your turn. Share some of your favorite resources in the comments below.