Writer’s Log: 2051 Names

For whatever reason, I put considerable thought into names of characters, places and things in my stories.

When you read a name, you say it in your mind and if it’s wrong for the character, then I find myself stumbling over it every time I read it. When a name fits, you know it.

Finding a name can be challenging. Baby names from various countries have often been my go to source for characters. Scanning google maps for location names works for places. But these often feel generic. For fun, I created a Python script that combines letters in roughly random fashion to create jumble names. The script is below.

But to give you an example, I’ll print 180 names, randomly generated. Tell me if you don’t see a few names that speak to you. Remove a letter here or there and pow, there’s the name for your next villain, love interest, pet seal, seedy uncle or dying grandfather.

Aya Casype Eee Nevtega Vaa Meike
Timy Kkyaa Eemo Kuo Dhagehy Pihmya
Iyyge Jia Kmyhi Eanabu Kadea Aoe
Wnahybi Iyfae Hivto Iau Eoa Oneso
Efaa Dpiaby Bapwi Dobi Ayqe Auna
Ubuuu Ufuau Pydeve Nuve Faedo Hmuda
Ntea Aayme Iypihme Idbougi Vsqae Setocy
Eucu Miwiu Uaasqy Ayhmyje Tyu Iguy
Eeoa Hqao Yeguqu Cahmy Rtagudy Zneohmy
Bcosqe Eomycu Gjifipwe Rboakja Rhya Sinumy
Ataqygu Esey Mbituo Ntehmyfa Yhyna Rofa
Esqacu Bygcy Byca Hefaa Jkacu Bapi
Bahyfo Fwuey Jpegcuo Ahmaydbe Ewisqemy Geed’a
Cpehmaso Nfofu Ktevy Ejoe Ctekai Fiunfa
Qjawoy Cykai Uyy Jvave Pue Deyga
Ouae Acao Edbiqe Eqekadbo Vwyga Vkofia
Rseeo Yasqe Bpanase Bhmioy Eetea Miteko
Fqei Mvtuco Case Vdoe Psutey Sisuhy
Emaja Yhaae Jbasqyqe Jbete Msqege Mydowo
Adejite Oeqevu Niata Vvui Yaivo Puyje
Coou Fovaja Adaea Wica Evui Keyca
Oaa Iya Wya Dsoje Niu Udicuqi
Muqe Jhmyai Woee Piey Kiifa Onoda
Ruu Tapi Aceo Fhyyvy Ooeo Qimea
Gjuve Vavtey Gaa Kawe Eua Kaeu
Hwiay Ddbuky Dkjamy Ihmaa Gsyeva Tvteje
Eumo Afaqe Dohua Obopwi Qveio Yaovte
Dnobige Jvepwo Cyhmy Cuta Fdavte Baojy
Wkypwena Coda Tmiho Jeve Mbue Giony
Yeia Foymi Bvtewaa Ryyu Fboe Ceofy

Script:

import random
#~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
# Main program entry point
def main():

 words1 = ["a","u","y","o","a","e","i","e","'"]
 words2 = ["d","g","h","k","n","s","p","v",""]
 words3 = ["'","c","m","j","f","q","w","t"]
 words4 = ["d","g","h","k","n","s","r","p","v","z","e","i",
          "o","u","y","a","e","b","c","m","j","f","q","w","t"]
 print ("Starting...")

 f = open('.\output.txt', 'w')

 triplet = []
 for a in xrange(0, len(words1) - 1):
  for b in xrange(0, len(words2) - 1):
   for c in xrange(0, len(words3) - 1):
    triplet.append([a,b,c])

 for x in range(1, 51): # number of names
  l = random.randint(3, 4)
  s = words4[random.randint(0, len(words4) - 1)].upper()
  for i in range (1, l):
   n = random.randint(0, len(triplet) - 1)
   a = random.randint(0, 2)
   if (a == 0):
    s += words2[triplet[n][a]]
    a = random.randint(0, 2)
   if (a == 0):
    s += words3[triplet[n][a]]
    a = random.randint(0, 2)
    s += words1[triplet[n][a]]
  print >> f, s

 f.close()
 print ("Done")

#~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
if __name__ == '__main__':
 main()

(The reason the lists are called “words” is because I first used this to create random book titles using different words.)

About Anonymole


13 responses to “Writer’s Log: 2051 Names

  • JT Twissel

    Like Duke if a character is based on someone I knew then I write the whole book, story or whatever using the real name and then change at the last minute. Dickens came up with the best names but then he didn’t care who he insulted.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Phil Huston

    You have an equation for everything. I use several name generators, but I need somebody on the page way before the wanking involved in this exercise is over. If it doesn’t work or they won’t talk I call a character meeting and say Okay, we don;t have all day. Who do you need to be to talk to the rest of us? I run the generator and they’ll say, Oh, I do like that one. don’t you? And I say, It’s not up to me, can you wear it? Yes, it’s much more comfortable. More than I can say about this couch of yours…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anony Mole

      Yes. See, we can agree on something: The character must like (or at least accept) and fit their name. (So that their speech and personality can materialize.)
      Like that Johnny Cash song, it had to be “Sue.”
      Then there’s Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Katniss Everdeen, Lazarus Long, Flinx & Pip, Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones…
      Names matter. But, as you say, only so much as the characters are freed to speak through them.
      • Is a character not behaving as you’d like? Maybe their name is wrong. (Just a thought, there.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Phil Huston

        I let them be. Characters are not for me to control but lead me through the story. However I have had characters show up and hijack a WIP. I had a nice triple cross with several layers of machination laid out, BAM, this Berkeley art school grad student / professional car thief kid shows up, derails an entire (albeit uninspired) ensemble cast.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Anony Mole

          >Characters are not for me to control but lead me through the story.
          And yet, due to the fact that you’re the “medium” through which they materialize, you are in fact controlling what they become on your page. And what you “call” them then in your mind, no doubt influences what they say to you / through you.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Phil Huston

            Music taught me better. There are plans, and motifs and then there’s the stuff you could say you have no idea where it came from but that’s nonsense because the radio is always on. The trick is tuning in. EL asked an equational interviewer one time “Don’t you hear your characters talking in your head?” Left to my own devices, or “writing” I’d end up with cardboard cutouts. No way I “invented” a half Vietnamese shred metal cellist or a Valley Girl ballerina. I might have Bobby in Restaurant and the solution to his problems is a tall black woman I never saw coming. We were sitting there, and the boat salesman says oh yeah, this is Annabelle. Yeah? Well…

            Liked by 1 person

  • George F.

    Not sure if “tongue in cheek” comes across in print.

    Liked by 1 person

  • George F.

    I like the African ones here the most.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Audrey Driscoll

    A few sound Japanese, and others Finnish. Interesting experiment.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Duke Miller

    Hi A. Mole,

    I agree about names. I’m lousy with names. I always want to call characters by their real names and so I do that until it is ready to be published and then I go through and change everything with that Word replacement tool. So Margaret disappears and is replaced by Wanda, but like I say, I’m bad with names. About your name experiment, I got to tell you I felt like the East Germans were keeping me in solitary confinement for a few weeks without sleep and then they sprang this list of names on me and I was supposed to pick out my accomplices. The ones who were part of my cell trying to burn down the GDR. Thanks and good luck in all of your endeavors. Duke

    Liked by 2 people

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