I like writing fiction, but I'm terrible at coming up with surnames. Do you have any ideas or know a way that I could come up with some ideas?


5 Answers

Corey The Goofyhawk Profile
Corey The Goofyhawk , Epic has no limit, answered

Use a random name generator. I have found them to be extremely helpful for my IT classes and other writings. Also, depending on the setting, you can filter your search to something like "pirate name generator" or "medieval name generator" to better suit your needs. These could give you plenty of ideas for names. Many of my best characters came from a name generator. Best of luck to you!

Didge Doo Profile
Didge Doo answered

I used to write a Tall Tales column for a couple of newspapers and the editor was terrified that I'd use the name of one of his readers which might get him an angry phone call, or a letter from a lawyer. So I came up with some pretty strange names.

-- Sebastian Stonesthrow was never far from the action.
-- Dr Sigmund Flapjack was my resident psychiatrist.
-- Peter Proboscis never got his nose out of joint.
-- Herman Nutznboltz was a German inventor.
-- Jenny Saypar (je ne sais pas) didn't know anything.
-- Kit Astrophe was a walking catastrophe.
-- Rose Cullard was an optimist. She wore rose coloured glasses.
-- Santo Peccadillo wanted to put piranha into fishponds to defend the goldfish against marauding cats.
-- Di Zaster was a failed business woman.
-- Honest Joe Blake (Joe Blake is Australian slang for a snake) was a real estate salesman.
-- Mijikai Itanimai was a Japanese businessman. ("Mijikai Ita ni mai" actually translates as "two short planks" and if you're as thick as two short planks, you're pretty dumb.)
There were lots of others.

Of course, those are not exactly what you want but any list of names will give you plenty of choices that are appropriate for the region in which your story takes place. You need look no further than your telephone directory.

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Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
Don't think I know the Cat.

As for crazy, I had a phone call from one of the editors who said he and the other journalists had been discussing my column and wondering where I got my ideas. He said, "I'm sorry to tell you this, but we've come to the conclusion that you're insane." I think he was probably right.
Rath Keale
Rath Keale commented
Dodge, I love those names. Perhaps those editors were correct. Time will tell.
Geru, are you saying that a key person in the god squad has left Askaholics? I don't go there anymore because of them. If even one of them are gone, I'd like to know.
Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
I doubt it, Teach. Askaholics is their pulpit.
I hadn't visited the site for at least 6 weeks -- maybe longer -- because of them and when Sin told me the other day that she'd closed her Askaholics account i realised that there was no point keeping mine open, so I followed suit.
I haven't seen the Love Guru for a while. She must be having a spell.
Kioyre S. Profile
Kioyre S. answered

Much like everyone else said, name generators and coming up with random, awesome ones are definitely the way to go (: You can also mix the names of people you know.

Tris Fray Potter Profile

I am horrible at coming up with any names as well, so I just choose any word that suits the character, or character's family, and use Google translate to translate it into (mostly) a random language.

Ancient One Profile
Ancient One answered

When I have came across the same problem I was advised by a well know writer to do what he did. First determine the era in which I was writing  1800s, 1900s, future, etc. The fast forward through a movie, or obtain the credits via the "library",  based in that era and review all the credits, for names of  technical people, make up artists, stunt people etc. In most cases he mixed and matched so he would avoid using the exact name of a real person. He preferred British movies for the names.

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