Name Away

It was time to get my A Game up.  Or should I say, my A Level Game?

One of the things I’ve sat on for my upcoming novel has been the incoming class of new students, of which my two main characters will join.  I knew how many kid from around the world will be in this level–thirty-three–and I knew pretty much how many would come from each continent.  The names and locations of five of these students were known to me, which meant I needed twenty-eight more.  So . . . what’s a girl to do?

You get to looking and naming.

First off, I set up a grid:  Name, City, Continent.  Nothing fancy, just the facts.  Just enough so when someone asks, “What’s you’re name and where are you from?” I have the answer at my fingertips.  When putting this together, I worked backwards.  I decides to get my continent count up first, so I’ll know where to look for places to live.  The only change I had when putting this together was taking one spot from Europe and giving it to North America.  Because I wanted that.

Then it was time for city naming, and for that I needed Google Maps.  I’m in Europe, so I start looking around areas, finding something that looks good, and zooming down.  Find a city or town or whatever, get the name, and write it down.  Again, I knew the locations of five of my characters, but doing them all from around the world . . . it’s a lot of zoom and write.

Then comes the names.  First, I set up the characters I already knew.  After that, it was time to work.  For that, I used Scrivener’s Name Generator.

It’s a simple enough thing to use, and pretty much makes the $40 cost of the program Find Generatorworth it.  One can find it here:  Tools>Writing Tools>Name Generator.  Just like in the picture to the right.  Go there, and you get the next window, which is the generator.

The great thing about this is you have the ability to search by gender and nationality.  I need a boy with a Dutch first name and a Japanese family name?  I can do that.  I need a girl from France with a Persian given name?  Easy.  Or, like I’m doing here, I Generator Workingneed someone with a Peruvian family name, and give me ten example to choose from.  Then you copy them to your short list area below and look a little more if you feel like it, or copy the short list to your clip board and start applying.  You also have the ability to append the names in the short list to a text card in Scrivener, so you can just dump what’s there into whatever you’re working on, then move it to where it’s needed in your story.

What if you need strange names for a science fiction or fantasy story?  The name generator has an import function that allows you to pull in documents with your own first and last names.  You can even reset the generator back to its default status after you’ve used those names, just in case you’re working on a story somewhere down the road and you don’t want to run across the suggested name of Judiquil Bloodanvil.

So, into the names.  Most of the time I figured out where my characters were from based upon their location in the world.  A few times I’d jump into the Wiki to figure out what language was used in a particular country, and I found it necessary to hunt down a name for a student in Kazakhstan, because Borat doesn’t let you have nice things, you know?

And what was the end result?  After about two and a half hours of work, I had my kids.  Behold:

A Levels 2011


There they are, nice and neat, and with a little gender marker next to their names just in case I get confused at some point.  You will notice most of them are female, and there’s a reason for that . . . but I won’t go into it now.  Needless to say, it’s there.

And now, time to join the real world . . .