Fantasy name generators are one of the best ways to get your fiction out of a rut when you’re stuck. In just a few clicks, you can find hundreds of suggestions for character names that fit your story instead of being stuck on trying to choose a name for weeks or months when you could have been working on the plot.
Think names aren’t that important? Names can tell us where we come from, and some names have a history that spans across thousands of years. Just like names influence who we are, names can influence your characters, too.
Even if you don’t mention specific character history in your story, it helps you as the author to know that it’s there. Especially for fantasy, it can help to create an entire history for your characters for added background – even if the reader never gets to see this background, it makes the writing process easier and cements your characters more as “people.”
Here are the things that your character’s name could influence within your story – and how to apply these as storytelling techniques to tell your tale better.
Fictional and Made Up: The Same Applies
Your characters have a whole history (and heritage) that isn’t necessarily part of your story, but definitely still exists inside it – and whether or not you mention this while writing your story, this history definitely exists, and admitting it to yourself while writing makes it a lot easier to see where the rest of your story is going.
Small details like where your character was born or grew up will influence some of the things they do, such as their accent or area-specific terms they throw in – and even if you never mention the background, this still has just as much of an impact.
Names and Surnames
Fantasy name generators can be used for both names and surnames in your story. Keep in mind that – at least in most fantasy and story universes, though yours might be a little different – names are usually chosen by parents, while surnames are entirely inherited.
Names have nicknames, and sometimes nicknames are based around surnames.
Where you find surnames that you use or like, research the name or surname to see in which fiction it might have been used before – and what the real-life history and chronology is for the name.
Names Show Trends
Names can sometimes show trends. For example, a lot of people might have named their children Dorothy in the first five years after The Wizard of Oz was big at the box office – and some parents might have gone out and called their children Sunshine at the time where Sunshine of Your Love was on the music charts.
The same way in your story, names can sometimes be influenced by trends. (Did the Creatures in your story battle with the elves around the time the queen’s name was popular, for example? Use this to be creative with your storyline or make it fit with real-life trends and timelines.)
Names Show Our Heritage
In real life and fiction, some surnames are traditional. What does your character’s surname show about their heritage, their family or where they come from? Even where you’re creating your own fictional universe, thinking about the heritage of character names can be a great help.
Names Show Our Preferences
Names can often show our preferences. Some people are called Nicholas but prefer to be called Nick. Some people will only call you by your full name when they’re angry at you. Some people might change their names entirely because they don’t like their birth names.
Start with a fantasy name generator – and from there, think about what your name can mean for your characters.