Well I’ve been away from the View for a while. My day job was threatening to swallow me whole and I had to put up a good fight. Anyway, it’s good to be back! *stretch* Yes. What was I saying?
I love the internet. It’s full of so many things – useful, useless, and just plain mind-boggling. It’s a particularly fabulous resource for writing – fact checking, finding tips, stumbling over interesting articles, and getting inspired, especially when creative energy is present but the subject is lacking. One resource I’m especially fond of is all the websites and databases for baby names – etymology, popularity, etc – not only for when I’m trying to find a name for a specific character in a project, but when I need to do a random exercise to get in the right frame of mind. I choose a name and then invent a whole biography – parents, childhood, job, hobbies, achievements, whatever. Not a very long piece; a nice little sketch.
The only disadvantage is that it can become unbelievably time-consuming to pick a first name and then a surname. Really, it’s usually only meant as a brief exercise, but I end up digressing for a good half hour (or more…) trying to find the right combination with the right meaning. That’s why today I said no getting bogged down. Pick something random. Except my brain cells couldn’t cope with all that spontaneity at once and so I turned to Google. Ah, Google… *sigh* All I had to do was type in “name generator.” Sure enough, “random name generator” came up as a search possibility. One click and everything was before me. Aside from the fact that there are actual programs you can download to your computer to randomly generate names, there are three websites which are very handy.
First up is Behind the Name’s random name generator. I'm already familiar with their first name and surname databases, which provide thorough etymological breakdowns, I just never noticed the (shiny!) random name generator. Not only does it give you a choice of creating a first name with up to three optional middle names of defined or ambiguous gender in languages ranging alphabetically from African to Welsh, it also gives you the option to select other criteria such as mythological (Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse), ancient (Greek, Roman, Celtic, Germanic), biblical, historical, literary, and theological connotations. But that’s not all! It also has special categories such as witch, fairy, goth, rapper, wrestler, hillbilly, kreatyve (spelling-wise), and transformer (for all that transformer fanfic you should be writing).
Next is the Random Name Generator, which isn’t as intricate as Behind the Name, but it lets you set the obscurity factor in your search through U.S. census statistics; 1 = common, 50 = not so common, 99 = totally obscure. Trust me, setting the thing to 99 yields weird and wonderful results – different cultural backgrounds collide headlong. Finally, there’s the Fake Name Generator, which somewhat freaks me out since it generates an entire fake identity, complete with address, phone number, birthday, credit card number, mother’s maiden name, occupation, and UPS tracking number. I never would have thought of tracking a fake person via UPS. I’ll have to remember that.
Until a fake person actually vanishes, I'll try to figure out whether “Evandrus Silvius” is a successful or failed rapper.