Offer to donate MuseNames character database to Scrivener

In the 1990s my company, Muse Creations Inc., developed the Musenames database of character names for writers. The database grew to contain 60,000 name records with name, gender, ethnicity, meaning, and numerology fields, and we continued to upgrade it until Windows 7 was released, at which point we stopped supporting the Musenames Windows application, and began offering the searchable database free online for writers. You can search the database on my Vanessa Grant website at

I would love to help make it possible for everyone using Scrivener - including myself! - to use this data in future Scrivener editions. To help make this happen, I’m willing to contribute to L&L the database and access to the source code for the search options shown in the search screen blow, along with a non-expiring license to publish the database as part of Scrivener.


First of all, thanks for your generous offer! If you get that all set up so that it is working well with import, drop us a note at our support address and we can see about including them in the software.

To that: have you already checked out the method for creating custom name lists? The procedure is documented in §21.5.1, Adding Your Own Name Lists, pg. 316 of the user manual PDF. Lists or origin-based. So you could set up your site to export comma lists for each ethnicity group. You can sort them by obscurity if that’s a thing you keep track of, otherwise they can be imported as a normal list.

At this time the tool doesn’t have any kind of support for contacting third-party sites and generating names off of line lists or search results.

Thanks, AmberV

Okay, I’ll work on setting up all the lists and test it out here, then will drop you a note at your support address.


Great idea and a fantastic resource.

I did trip it up though with one of Welsh names I’ve given my youngest son. Is there a way for others to add names to your db?

Thanks for the vote, Chris. You can add your Welsh name by emailing me at with the name, it’s origin, whether it’s male, female or unisex, and anything you might know about the name’s use or origin. I’ll add it to the database, and it will also get into the Scrivener dataset I’ll be preparing.

Looking at the format for putting names data into Scrivener, it’s only possible to categorize the names by origin and gender, but there’s no ability to add name meanings. I’ll probably keep the database up on for those who want to look up the meanings online, but just having the Musenames 60000+ name records categorized by origins and gender should be helpful.

This will take a while to get the data into the format for Scrivener, but I’ll work on it over the next few weeks.


If a list prepared for Scrivener has and extra field, will Scrivener just ignore it? If so, perhaps the name-meaning info could be rendered to an extra field – and thus retained against possible future Scriv development?

Gr, this is an excellent question. Perhaps someone at L&L can comment on this.

The way I read L&Ls import criteria for character names from the user manual is that I would create a separate CSV file for the names in each unique origin-gender pair from our MuseNames character database. L&L’s criteria for each file seems to be that it be named with the origin/gender of the contents (i.e. Muse English Female names, etc) and that the file contents give all the names in that category in CSV format, with the names in a single “row” (i.e., loooooooonnnnnnng string of comma separated names).

I would create this CSV file/table in Excel from the results of a unique origin/gender search of of 60,000+ MuseNames database. When I get the search result the names would be listed in a single column. I can flip them into a single row with a “transposed” copy-paste (thank heaven for Excel!).

By repeating the steps for each unique origin/gender pair, I would end up with a CSV table with all the names in one single massive CSV row. (i.e., Separate tables for Muse English Female names; Muse English Male Names; Muse English Unisex Names; Muse French Male Names; etc, etc, etc. for all the different origins.)

I could include the matching “meanings” fields from the Muse Creations database in a second row in the table, but I don’t know how Scrivener’s import code would handle that second row. If it ignored the second row, that would be fine. I can experiment with that, and if Scrivener chokes on the imported 2-field table, I’ll know.

Perhaps someone at Scrivener can comment on whether it could possibly be useful to retain this data against possible Scrivener development.


Sounds like the format is not is no delimited in a way that you can distingish fields withing records. It is just a flat comma-delimited list (each item a record). So, it seems very unlikely that a “luff” field could be insinuated in there.


Yes, I agree. I can make the fields such that the name/meaning records line up in a spreadsheet or database, but I have my doubts that it would be the optimum way to add meaning records to Scrivener at a later date.

Even having the 60,000 name records in Scrivener searchable by origin and gender is going to be useful. I’m willing to do the work of transposing and exporting them to a format Scrivener can import just to get the data where I can use it when naming characters, and I’d like to share it with the Scrivener community.


Yes, that sounds great (and exceedingly generous).