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The last random name creator you’ll need
Use our free random character name generator and generate names to kickstart your next creative writing project. We’ve taken the 1.000 most popular male and female names — first and last — added hundreds of beloved middle names, and squeezed them all into our random name creator. Generate a million possible character names for either gender, or boost that up to over a hundred million by adding middle names.
Number of character name options
To use the character name generator, simply generate random names by clicking on the big button. Configure gender and middle name settings as you see fit, and you’re good to go. Have fun!
Why should I use a character name generator?
Simple. Even with a strong idea about a character’s personality, you may be hard-pressed for names. Therefore, use a name generator to:
- Find names you never thought of
- Create a shortlist with possible candidates
- Mix and match first and last name combinations
Let it serve as inspiration, and use a name if it truly creates that eureka moment for you. Read on to find out more about why choosing the right name for your character is crucial.
Why are character names important?
Even though this generator creates a very large amount of character names, that does not mean that any of these names are necessarily a good fit.
A character name’s link to personality
Character names tell a lot about the personality of your heroes and heroines. Say a person’s first name is Petunia. Imagine her personality. Now imagine another character whose name is Zoey. I would picture Petunia as a very uptight person, a kind of neat freak, which is an impression stemming from my previous experiences with stories that include characters who bear that name. Zoey on the other hand strikes me as a free soul, an excitable young woman ready for the outside world.
Names and core values
Names often not only describe a personality as a whole; they can also pinpoint a certain quality, that one trait that defines the person. The importance of character names by Scott Myers uses the following example from Star Wars:
Darth Vader: “Darth” as in dark and “Vader” as in a variation of the German word vater or father; therefore dark father, a huge clue to the character’s Nemesis function as well as his relationship to Luke (revealed in The Empire Strikes Back).
Many cultures also use names to describe a person’s primary qualities. Native American or Australian Aborigine tribes are well-known for names that translate to e.g. Proud Buffalo or Crouching Bear.
But character names are not always as obvious in their meaning as the aforementioned examples. They can also be subtle references to well-known literary works — often the bible — or famous historical persons.
Different character types in fiction
Fiction is built on characters. They come in many shapes and sizes. The way a character is written can make a huge difference in the story.
The protagonist is also known as the main character or hero in fiction. The protagonist is the main character of the story and usually drives the plot forward. Although they can come from any background or age, protagonists are usually relatable and easy to root for.
The antagonist is another common character. They often act as a foil to the protagonist. The antagonist is often the source or conflict in a story and may be opposing the protagonist in some manner. An antagonist can be an individual or a group of people. They can be motivated by greed, power or a personal vendetta.
A character who experiences significant personal growth and change throughout the story is called a dynamic character. The character's interactions and experiences with other characters can often lead to this change. They can either be protagonists or secondary characters and are an integral part of many stories because they help to convey the theme or message.
Static characters, on the other hand are those characters that remain the same throughout the story. These characters can be used as foils to dynamic characters and highlight their growth and changes. You can also use static characters to illustrate certain themes and ideas. For example, the idea that people don't change or that certain things in life are constant.
You can also classify fictional characters based on the role they play in the story. A round character is one that is fully developed and has complex personalities. These characters are often the main characters in a story. They are the ones the reader wants to empathize with and connect with. Flat characters, on the other hand, are less complex and more one-dimensional. These characters can be used to push the plot forward, or as foils to the round characters.
You can also classify characters based on how they function in the story. Major characters are those who play a major role in the story and have a lot of screentime. Minor characters are those who have a smaller role and appear only briefly in the story.
There are many archetypes, which are not as traditional but still often found in fiction. These characters embody certain traits and fulfill specific roles. They can be found in stories of all genres. Examples of archetypes are the love interest, the mentor, the hero, and the trickster.
The specific plot needs and themes will determine the type of characters an author includes in their story. Each type of character has a purpose, regardless of whether they are multi-dimensional, fully developed characters or more simple archetypes.
What should I keep in mind when creating character names?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Do not use names that already exist
- Ensure the names adhere to the current day and time
- Try to be subtle about meanings
- Create names that sound unique
- Don’t let names end with an ’S’
The list goes on. Whatever your character name becomes, keep one thing in mind: try to make it memorable.
5 questions to help you come up with character names
- What type of person is the character?
- What is the character's role in the story?
- What meaning or inspiration should the name convey?
- What sounds and connotations does the name have?
- What kind of personality does the character have?
Can I use the random character names that this tool creates?
Yes you can. The Story Shack claims no copyright on any of these names, but it is of course possible that some of the values this name generator provides are already owned by anyone else, so please make sure to always do your due diligence.
How many ideas can I generate with this Character Name Generator?
The Character Name Generator can generate thousands of ideas for your project, so feel free to keep clicking and at the end use the handy copy feature to export your character names to a text editor of your choice. Enjoy!
What are good character names?
There's thousands of random character names in this generator. Here are some samples to start:
More on character names across the web
Can't get enough of generating character names? Then continue exploring: