Friday, 5 September 2008

WRITING SOFTWARE - Name Generators

Names are interesting things. The meaning of names is even more interesting. For instance, David comes from Hebrew and means "Beloved". Such is from the Anglo-Saxon word for "Tree Stump." So altogether my name means "Beloved Tree Stump." Probably not the name you would choose for the next Galactic Emperor.

Speaking of names, I am hopeless at thinking up names for my characters. Consequently most of the time I use the names of our dogs (past and present).

This is probably doing a disservice to my works of art as a carefully crafted name can add to your story, providing a layer of resonance and meaning. A characters name is one way of providing clues about your protagonists nature. A character named Bozo or Jeeves comes with a pre-populated personality, which you should probably avoid because it is too obvious (although I guess you could play with this - how about an evil Bozo who becomes the next Galactic Emperor? Who voted for this clown? Yuk Yuk Yuk).

Moving right along ...

So if you want to avoid using clich├ęd names for the folks that populate your stories, how about using a name generator? There are stacks out there. For Fantasy names try:

- The Fantasy Name Generator

If you are interested in the history or etymology of names try:

- Behind the Name

They also have a random name generator.

For the mother of all naming sites try Seventh Sanctum. The have everything from evil name generators to pirate ship name generators.

Happy naming!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

WEBZINE - The Specusphere Issue 4

Issue 4 is out now!!

Pop over to and check it out.

It includes my new story, "Hell Hath No Fury." I'm always interested in feedback. Let me know if you liked it (or not) and why.

In this issue

Where do I come from? by Stephen Thompson

Irrealism and the Bizarro movement by Stephen Thompson
Ray-guns for Rocketeers by Jeff Harris

Up and Coming
Ford Street Makes Waves
The Wisdom of Water by John Archer
New Books from Gollancz for September–October 2008
New Books from Tor for September

Creating Memorable Characters: interview and discussion with Fiona McIntosh by Astrid Cooper

Writing and Publishing
Where do (writing) ideas come from? by Bill Youatt-Pine

Hell Hath No Fury by David Such
Dolphin Dreaming by Ashley Hibbert
Chopped up Cut up by Damien Kane

The Curse by Felix Calvino

Film Reviews
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, directed by Rob Cohen
Journey to the Center of the Earth, directed by Eric Brevig
The Happening, directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Hellboy II: The Golden Army, directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Book Reviews
The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Son et Lumiere by Ian Nichols
Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross
Phantom Pleasures by Julie Leto
Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan
Black Ships by Jo Graham
Bewitched by Sandra Schwab
Incandescence by Greg Egan
Heart-shaped Box
by Joe Hill
Swiftly by Adam Roberts