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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Brinegar

Generating a Character

When I first started writing short stories as an eleven-year-old, I found naming characters challenging. Last names were common - Brown, Smith, Johnson. Or inspired by items in my room - Drew Lampton, Miss Bedington. My characters were also very similar. Everyone was sarcastic and spoke like me.

Thankfully, there are plenty of places to help writers generate character names. I favor the social security website It helps me find a name appropriate for the character's age. I want to name a woman born in 1952 Debra rather than Kinsley. A man born in the 90s might be Cody or Dylan. While there are exceptions, this is a great way to generate age appropriate names.

If you are looking to build a quick, comprehensive profile I recommend

You can choose the gender and genre of your character and the site will generate a profile. I chose a male noir character :

Along with a name, I have his top five traits, Myers Briggs, an overview, and more. Hours of research can be condensed into a few clicks. With the character profile in mind I can begin building and tweaking my next antagonist. The standard, cardboard, cookie cutter bad guys are not welcome. With Chuck White, I have a down to earth couch potato villain. He isn't motivated to act on his evil plan but when he does, he shows no remorse. He's an analyst and mostly works from home. He opts to work at night, watching soaps and eating junk food during the day.

What characters are you writing next?

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