After a long detour through the entertainment industry, P.I. Barrington has returned to her roots as a fiction author. Among her careers she counts journalism and radio air talent. She lives in Southern California where she watches the (semi-wild) horses grazing in the hills behind her house. She can be contacted via email: wordmistresses@yahoo.com and loves to hear from readers. Her website: TheWordMistresses.com.

To Generate or Not to Generate (Is That the Question?)

If you write science fiction or fantasy I’m guessing you’ve come across what can be some of the best tools for your genre’ and its creations. I’m talking about random generators. You may or may not have heard of them but these online remarkable tools can be invaluable to authors. Random generators are websites that do just what they say: they randomly generate anything you might need when creating your world and everything in it. From character names to monetary names and values to maps to religions and time/era of your particular world, random generators can be a minor godsend if you’re stuck somewhere in your story or need to create viable details or if you are about to embark on your virgin voyage into fantasy/sci fi writing. The random generators are sort of the dice roll of the original face to face roll playing games like Dungeons & Dragons sped up to the technology of today and the development and adaptation is amazing. Generators can give you races of creatures/aliens, societal levels, languages, flora, fauna, and real or fantasy “historical events.”


But what I like best about them is that they trigger your own creativity. At least they trigger mine. Most of the time I find my imagination jogged into inventing my own languages, space vehicles, weaponry, and of course names. I have even developed my own method of creating names, places, etc. that is not derived from generators.

Below is a partial list of popular random generator websites you might be interested in checking out:

  1. Seventh Sanctum: This is one of the best for science fiction and magic and if you have some development skills you can even contribute your generator for others to use! Highly recommended!
  2. ChaoticShiny: This is the other best generator, especially for fantasy based on RPG and is for “people who write game or live in fantasy worlds of their own creation”. Highly recommended for fantasy & alternate history writing.
  3. ScaldCrow: Interesting but limited and limited to actual RPG rather than directed at writers.
  4. Squid: Intense generator with real and imagined world generators (Afghanistan, Egypt, France, Japan and Congo to name just a few!). Definitely worth checking out!
  5. Serendipity: Revamped and based a lot on Les Mis but specifically for fantasy authors! Serendipity has name generators from French to Japanese and bonus villain names. Recommended.

If you’re a purist, you can always spend time inventing your world in detail with copious notes or use character or world building worksheets, there’s nothing at all wrong with that and believe me, filling out worksheets can be a blast of their own but if you’re stuck for the name of a certain weapon or town and don’t have a lot of time to research it or think it up, try out a generator or two. You may just get an idea for the next world you build!

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