Suggestions for Name Generator

The name generator is a great tool.

I’ll bet that over 99% of the time, people use the name generator as I do. I generate a bunch of names, then select one and use it. However, the interface seems designed for creating shortlists of names. Why not allow the user the right click on one of the names and choose “Insert into document” or “Copy to clipboard.”

And, by the way, when I choose “American” as the name origin, I get the following names. Concerning those first names, I’ve never encountered any of them, despite living in America all my life.

Shawnette Carter
Blayze Kirk
Alinn Workman
Ciera Boyd
Karas Garner
Alijha Bright
Jayden Harvey
Jiera Holmes
Kaden Parrish
Ilasha Rivers

Don’t know about the others on your list but those two are names I know. Jayden made me think of Will Smith’s son Jaden.I’m dyslexic so I didn’t know about the difference in spelling until I looked the name up. However, Mayor Bloomberg did know of the Scrivener spelling because, according to WikiPedia, he announce that the the US SSA had seen this name rising up its lists of given names since 1994 (although it has now change to the Smith variation). It was 851th in the list of top 1,000 names when it first appeared.

Ciera reminds me of the English actress Kiera Knightly. But IMDB records a US-born actress Ciera Payton born in 1986.

I haven’t used the name generator very much. For me naming a character is like an actor who understands the role they are playing by selecting the right shoes. However, for a current project I am using it. Sort of. That is I let it create some random names and then I changed the spelling of the one or two that I liked.

But there is a feature I would like to have in the name generator module. Well two. Firstly to be able to have more control obscurity numbers to any names I might import. The implicit ordering by location on the list doesn’t really provide any control.

Secondly for the manual to have an example of a CSV file that could be imported. (Actually that’s a suggestion I have for the manual in general. It needs more examples and screen shots. The narrative nature of the manual doesn’t really work for those just wanting to look up a single issue quickly.)

I would love the name generator to have a section of British names which are spelled differently from the way they are pronounced: Beauchamp, Menzies, Ruthven, Cholmondeley, etc (pronounced Beecham, Mingus, Riven, Chumley). And Wemyss, Colquhoun, Devereux, Derby, Blyth, and so on.

And those very strange original names of famous movie stars etc: Noted Personalities — Original Names of Selected Entertainers (from Micro$oft Bookshelf) :
Edie Adams: Elizabeth Edith Enke
Eddie Albert: Edward Albert Heimberger
Alan Alda: Alphonso D’Abruzzo
Jane Alexander: Jane Quigley
Fred Allen: John Sullivan
Woody Allen: Allen Konigsberg
Julie Andrews: Julia Wells
Eve Arden: Eunice Quedens
Beatrice Arthur: Bernice Frankel
Jean Arthur: Gladys Greene
Fred Astaire: Frederick Austerlitz
Alan Autry: Carlos Brown
Lauren Bacall: Betty Joan Perske
Anne Bancroft: Anna Maria Italiano
Brigitte Bardot: Camille Javal
Gene Barry: Eugene Klass
Orson Bean: Dallas Burrows
Bonnie Bedelia: Bonnie Culkin
Pat Benatar: Patricia Andrejewski
Robbie Benson: Robert Segal
Tony Bennett: Anthony Benedetto
Busby Berkeley: William Berkeley Enos
Jack Benny: Benjamin Kubelsky
Joey Bishop: Joseph Gottlieb
Robert Blake: Michael Gubitosi
Victor Borge: Borge Rosenbaum
David Bowie: David Robert Jones
Boy George: George Alan O’Dowd
Fanny Brice: Fanny Borach
Charles Bronson: Charles Buchinski
Albert Brooks: Albert Einstein
Mel Brooks: Melvin Kaminsky
George Burns: Nathan Birnbaum
Ellen Burstyn: Edna Gilhooley
Richard Burton: Richard Jenkins
Red Buttons: Aaron Chwatt
Nicolas Cage: Nicholas Coppola
Michael Caine: Maurice Micklewhite
Maria Callas: Maria Kalogeropoulos
Vikki Carr: Florencia Casillas
Diahann Carroll: Carol Diahann Johnson
Cyd Charisse: Tula Finklea
Ray Charles: Ray Charles Robinson
Cher: Cherilyn Sarkisian
Patsy Cline: Virginia Patterson Hensley
Lee J. Cobb: Leo Jacoby
Claudette Colbert: Lily Chauchoin
Michael Connors: Kreker Ohanian
Robert Conrad: Conrad Robert Falk
Alice Cooper: Vincent Furnier
David Copperfield: David Kotkin
Howard Cosell: Howard Cohen
Elvis Costello: Declan Patrick McManus
Lou Costello: Louis Cristillo
Joan Crawford: Lucille Le Sueur
Michael Crawford: Michael Dumbell-Smith
Tom Cruise: Thomas Mapother
Tony Curtis: Bernard Schwartz
Vic Damone: Vito Farinola
Rodney Dangerfield: Jacob Cohen
Bobby Darin: Walden Robert Cassotto
Doris Day: Doris von Kappelhoff
Yvonne De Carlo: Peggy Middleton
Sandra Dee: Alexandra Zuck
John Denver: Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.
Bo Derek: Cathleen Collins
John Derek: Derek Harris
Danny DeVito: Daniel Michaeli
Susan Dey: Susan Smith
Angie Dickinson: Angeline Brown
Bo Diddley: Elias Bates
Phyllis Diller: Phyllis Driver
Diana Dors: Diana Fluck
Kirk Douglas: Issur Danielovitch
Melvyn Douglas: Melvyn Hesselberg
Bob Dylan: Robert Zimmerman
Sheena Easton: Sheena Shirley Orr
Barbara Eden: Barbara Huffman
Ron Ely: Ronald Pierce
Chad Everett: Raymond Cramton
Tom Ewell: S. Yewell Tompkins
Douglas Fairbanks: Douglas Ullman
Morgan Fairchild: Patsy McClenny
Alice Faye: Ann Leppert
Stepin Fetchit: Lincoln Perry
Sally Field: Sally Mahoney
W.C. Fields: William Claude Dukenfield
Peter Finch: William Mitchell
Barry Fitzgerald: William Joseph Shields
Joan Fontaine: Joan de Havilland
John Ford: Sean O’Fearna
John Forsythe: John Freund
Redd Foxx : John Sanford
Anthony Franciosa: Anthony Papaleo
Arlene Francis: Arlene Kazanjian
Connie Francis: Concetta Franconero
Greta Garbo: Greta Gustafsson
Vincent Gardenia: Vincent Scognamiglio
John Garfield: Julius Garfinkle
Judy Garland: Frances Gumm
James Garner: James Bumgarner
Crystal Gayle: Brenda Gayle Webb
Paulette Goddard: Marion Levy
Whoopi Goldberg: Caryn Johnson
Eydie Gorme: Edith Gormezano
Stewart Granger: James Stewart
Cary Grant: Archibald Leach
Lee Grant: Lyova Rosenthal
Joel Grey: Joe Katz
Robert Guillaume: Robert Williams
Buddy Hackett: Leonard Hacker
Hammer: Stanley Kirk Burrell
Jean Harlow: Harlean Carpentier
Rex Harrison: Reginald Carey
Laurence Harvey: Larushka Skikne
Helen Hayes: Helen Brown
Susan Hayward: Edythe Marriner
Rita Hayworth: Margarita Cansino
Pee-Wee Herman: Paul Rubenfeld
Barbara Hershey: Barbara Herzstine
William Holden: William Beedle
Judy Holliday: Judith Tuvim
Harry Houdini: Ehrich Weiss
Leslie Howard: Leslie Stainer
Moe Howard: Moses Horowitz
Rock Hudson: Roy Scherer Jr. (later Fitzgerald)
Engelbert Humperdinck: Arnold Dorsey
Kim Hunter: Janet Cole
Mary Beth Hurt: Mary Supinger
Betty Hutton: Betty Thornberg
David Janssen: David Meyer
Elton John: Reginald Dwight
Don Johnson: Donald Wayne
Jennifer Jones: Phyllis Isley
Tom Jones: Thomas Woodward
Louis Jourdan: Louis Gendre
Boris Karloff: William Henry Pratt
Danny Kaye: David Kaminsky
Diane Keaton: Diane Hall
Michael Keaton: Michael Douglas
Howard Keel: Harold Leek
Chaka Khan: Yvette Stevens
Carole King: Carole Klein
Larry King: Larry Zeigler
Ben Kingsley: Krishna Banji
Nastassja Kinski: Nastassja Naksyznyski
Ted Knight: Tadeus Wladyslaw Konopka
Cheryl Ladd: Cheryl Stoppelmoor
Veronica Lake: Constance Ockleman
Dorothy Lamour: Mary Kaumeyer
Michael Landon: Eugene Orowitz
Mario Lanza: Alfredo Cocozza
Stan Laurel: Arthur Jefferson
Steve Lawrence: Sidney Leibowitz
Brenda Lee: Brenda Mae Tarpley
Bruce Lee: Lee Yuen Kam
Gypsy Rose Lee: Rose Louise Hovick
Michelle Lee: Michelle Dusiak
Peggy Lee: Norma Egstrom
Janet Leigh: Jeanette Morrison
Vivien Leigh: Vivien Hartley
Huey Lewis: Hugh Cregg
Jerry Lewis: Joseph Levitch
Hal Linden: Harold Lipshitz
Carole Lombard: Jane Peters
Jack Lord: John Joseph Ryan
Sophia Loren: Sophia Scicoloni
Peter Lorre: Laszio Lowenstein
Myrna Loy: Myrna Williams
Bela Lugosi: Bela Ferenc Blasko
Moms Mabley: Loretta Mary Aitken
Shirley MacLaine: Shirley Beaty
Madonna: Madonna Louise Ciccone
Lee Majors: Harvey Lee Yeary 2d
Karl Malden: Malden Sekulovich
Jayne Mansfield: Vera Jane Palmer
Fredric March: Frederick Bickel
Peter Marshall: Pierre LaCock
Dean Martin: Dino Crocetti
Ethel Merman: Ethel Zimmerman
George Michael: Georgios Panayiotou
Ray Milland: Reginald Truscott-Jones
Ann Miller: Lucille Collier
Joni Mitchell: Roberta Joan Anderson
Marilyn Monroe: Norma Jean Mortenson, (later) Baker
Yves Montand: Ivo Levi
Ron Moody: Ronald Moodnick
Demi Moore: Demi Guynes
Garry Moore: Thomas Garrison Morfit
Rita Moreno: Rosita Alverio
Harry Morgan: Harry Bratsburg
Paul Muni: Muni Weisenfreund
Mike Nichols: Michael Igor Peschowsky
Chuck Norris: Carlos Ray
Sheree North: Dawn Bethel
Hugh O’Brian: Hugh Krampke
Maureen O’Hara: Maureen Fitzsimmons
Patti Page: Clara Ann Fowler
Jack Palance: Walter Palanuik
Bert Parks: Bert Jacobson
Minnie Pearl: Sarah Ophelia Cannon
Bernadette Peters: Bernadette Lazzaro
Edith Piaf: Edith Gassion
Slim Pickens: Louis Lindley
Mary Pickford: Gladys Smith
Stephanie Powers: Stefania Federkiewicz
Paula Prentiss: Paula Ragusa
Robert Preston: Robert Preston Meservey
Prince: Prince Rogers Nelson
Tony Randall: Leonard Rosenberg
Martha Raye: Margaret O’Reed
Donna Reed: Donna Belle Mullenger
Della Reese: Delloreese Patricia Early
Joan Rivers: Joan Sandra Molinsky
Edward G. Robinson: Emmanuel Goldenberg
Ginger Rogers: Virginia McMath
Roy Rogers: Leonard Slye
Mickey Rooney: Joe Yule Jr.
Lillian Russell: Helen Leonard
Theresa Russell: Theresa Paup
Winona Ryder: Winona Horowitz
Susan St. James: Susan Miller
Soupy Sales: Milton Hines
Susan Sarandon: Susan Tomaling
Randolph Scott: George Randolph Crane
Jane Seymour: Joyce Frankenberg
Omar Sharif: Michael Shalhoub
Martin Sheen: Ramon Estevez
Beverly Sills: Belle Silverman
Talia Shire: Talia Coppola
Phil Silvers: Philip Silversmith
Suzanne Somers: Suzanne Mahoney
Ann Sothern: Harriette Lake
Robert Stack: Robert Modini
Barbara Stanwyck: Ruby Stevens
Jean Stapleton: Jeanne Murray
Ringo Starr: Richard Starkey
Connie Stevens: Concetta Ingolia
Sting: Gordon Sumner
Donna Summer: La Donna Gaines
Rip Taylor: Charles Elmer Jr.
Robert Taylor: Spangler Arlington Brugh
Danny Thomas: Muzyad Yakhoob, later Amos Jacobs
Randy Travis: Randy Traywick
Sophie Tucker: Sophia Kalish
Tina Turner: Annie Mae Bullock
Conway Twitty: Harold Lloyd Jenkins
Rudolph Valentino: Rudolpho D’Antonguolla
Frankie Valli: Frank Castelluccio
David Wayne: Wayne McMeekan
John Wayne: Marion Morrison
Clifton Webb: Webb Parmalee Hollenbeck
Raquel Welch: Raquel Tejada
Gene Wilder: Jerome Silberman
Shelley Winters: Shirley Schrift
Stevie Wonder: Stevland Morris
Natalie Wood: Natasha Gurdin
Jane Wyman: Sarah Jane Fulks
Gig Young: Byron Barr

I haven’t lived in America all my life, at least not yet, but I’ve lived here since I was born, as have 11 generations of ancestors, and I recognize every one of those last names and half the first names (Maine’s a dite north of the Ilsasha belt, I’m guessing). There’s a Shawnette working at the corner grocery, and my son once dated a Ciera (which is also, interestingly enough, a mackerel). In the school where my wife teaches, you could pitch a rock at random and have a fair chance of hitting a Kaden or a Jayden.

You want to find good names, I recommend a stroll through a cemetery, preferably from the region where your story happens. Good names aren’t created by algorithms, but bestowed upon progeny by proud, dazed, and deluded parents.

I’ve long been frustrated by the fact that Melville
did not give Ahab or Ishmael last, family, surnames.
But I don’t want to try the Name Generator for answers.

I like the idea of visiting cemeteries for inspiration.
But many families use the same personal, given, forenames
Over and over, as in Charles, William, George, etc.

For generation after generation.
Call me Rutabaga. :confused:

Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no imagination in my family, and nothing particular to name each other than what we’d always named each other . . .

We go (in the patrilineal line):

Thomas
Phillip
Thomas
Thomas
Philip --and then we go briefly and enthusiastically Methodist, with
Seth
Hiram
Isaac
Isaac
and then the next four generations become random, with names borrowed from, in order, a hymn composer, a character in a Walter Scott novel, a favorite fishing buddy, and a character from an Edith Wharton novel. And so it goes.

Somebody should write a book about how we get, or inflict, our names.

We picked names for our children that we hoped would reflect the characteristics thought to be common to that name. Ex: The name “Joshua” seems to be associated with men who have integrity and steadfastness in adversity. “Ashely” seems associated with shrewd but kind business women and humanitarians.

The above examples are directly from the notes we have regarding name discussion the Mrs and I had in the months prior to birth. This is breaking with the tradition the rest of the family has of using a single letter for the start of all the names. 10 “L” names to remember with aunts and uncles.

We think we follow family tradition
Or logical, memorial, biblical impulse
In naming our sprats and spawn, but
It appears that we also follow fashion.
nametrends.net/

I can also see this in the names of students.
How the Heathers, Mary Ellens, and Monas
Come and go. In my time

I remember Harriet and Millicent and Daisy,
But no more, alas,
Can it be that we frivolously name our daughters
While the sons are Charles, George, and Bill?

Being British most of my fiction is set in Britain so the (historical) name lists published by the Office of Natinal Statistics are very useful when I want a suitable name. They have a bunch of Excel spreadsheets and other documents available going back at least to 1904; available here http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/search/index.html?newquery=baby+names. There could be other resources there if one changed the search terms.

Fashions indeed. My wife is a Linda, and so were all her classmates who weren’t Jennifers or Dianes, or so it seems. Now, she teaches art in a small-town middle school and has several hundred students, with not a Linda or a Diane to be seen, though there is a token Jennifer. She’s well-stocked with Shaylas and Haylees and Kaitlins and Ashleys, however, all presumably to mate, at some future date, with an Ethan or a Joshua or a Tyler or a Brandon.

There’s also a Heaven-Lee Love (honest). Who, despite her parents’ apparent intentions has (by all reports) evolved in quite a different direction.

Can you blame her?

In real life I have a very common first name and a very common last name. Any organisation of sufficient size for the public to have heard of it will have at least one person with my name already in it.

Perhaps that is why I have a very obscure legal joke as a internet handle. To my knowledge there are only two pigfenders in the world. We have battle of speed* to be the first to get new social media tags. I got twitter, he got facebook. He also got Instagram, but I got pigfender.com. I wonder if it irritates him as much as it does me.

  • – on re-reading I realised these are more commonly known as “races”.

Am I the only user of Scrivener who finds that the Name Generator is just about the only one of Scrivener’s many, many useful writing tools that I never deploy?

And this is not because I haven’t got round to it yet. I deliberately don’t use it. It’s always seemed to me that discovering or making up names that are just right is the icing on the cake of creative satisfaction cooked up in the process of writing stories. Think of how Shakespeare must have felt when he came up with Sir Toby Belch, or Fleming when he found the book written by the American ornithologist James Bond - both names so right in every way. Why deny oneself that pleasure?

I’m with you. The Name Generator is something I’ve looked at but not actually used. For this year’s NaNoWriMo event (November 2014) my planning has included trying the Name Generator for the first time. It put together some interesting possibilities for the name of the main female character but none of the suggestions were quite right. When November comes around it is more than likely that the names will all be of my own making.

Elsewhere I’ve likened naming characters to what an actor/actress goes through in trying to find the soul of a role and they find it in the sole (of the shoes). Devising a name is an essential part of understanding the character; the Name Generator might prove useful for providing the some initial thoughts–rather like an actor/actress being offered a variety of shoes to try on by wardrode but in the end it their personal comfort (or discomfort) that matters.

One use I can think of for this feature is creating foreign names but the countries I would use don’t have existing lists. It requires some effort to collate quality lists of given and family names. By the time I’ve converted those researches to suitable importable files the combinations of those “foreign” names have come together in my plans. I’d also want names that fit the period in which my narrative is set. So no point in naming a character with a name that was either not known or long out of fashion. Those lists (of importable foreign names and of local names) would need to be based on annual vital statistics from government departments.

I also rarely use the name generator, reserving it only for obscure foreign names that look cool. My main characters all have names with meanings in other languages that reflect specific traits of their characters. Unless someone knows the language or uses a translator, they won’t know this, and it’s not integral to any of my stories, but it’s fun for me and helps me get into their characters better.

I wish there was a button I could add to the toolbar to bring up the name generator.

I use it all the time and find it fun. Once I choose a name, I put it in a spreadsheet which is sorted by first and last name. I try to have very few names that start with the same character. For example, if I want an ‘N’ name, I’ll put that into the generator.

What if you want a ‘D’ name? What do you put in the generator then?

Maybe I’m misunderstanding your question, but if I want a first name that starts with ‘D,’ I choose “First name start with” and ‘D’ in the dropdown.

Note that it should read “First name starts with” not “First name start with.”
We have the options to ask for a name that starts and ends with a particular character. Is there any point in that?