About Patrick Derrickson

Storyteller. Husband. Geekdad. Enjoyer of life.

Generating Character Names with Scrivener

Have you ever struggled to find that perfect name for your character?  Perused your personal library, looking for that one, great combination?  Mixed several product names to come up with that unique, but reasonable character moniker?

If you use Scrivener, you have a great and wonderful tool at your disposal.

If you’re not aware of it, let me show you how to get there.

After opening Scrivener, click “Edit”, then “Writing Tools”, and select “Name Generator”.


This pop-up box will appear:


Clicking the gear symbol on the lower right corner of the pop-up window will open the control screen.  Select your gender, nationality, or even combinations of two forenames or surnames.  You can even adjust a slider bar to find a more obscure name.

Adjust the slider bar to number of names you wish to generate, and then simply click “Generate Names”.


And voila!  A list of names.


A warning, though.  You may lose track of time playing with this tool.

Have fun!

The Launch of My Freelance Writing Career

After a couple of weeks of intensive education, writing, and rewriting, I received great news over the weekend.  The Yahoo Contributors Network accepted my article for publication!

What Personal Investments Do You Make as a Writer?

Click the link above to read the article.  Check out the great events on the horizon my writing guild has lined up.  Then, check out a local arts program that fills the creative side in all of us.

And I finally received my business cards.

Business Card

Now, to network with some freelance writers to grow my business.

Keep writing, my friends.

In the Groove

After waking in the early morning, the dream still fresh on my mind, I slipped downstairs to my computer and beat out the outline to a short story. One that I was sure would only be 500-1,000 words. It would be my first flash fiction story.

3,504 words later, the angry cries from the young woman who had just lost everything still rang through my head. I’m not sure if I had ever written so much, so fast.

It felt great to be in the groove.

Now that I’ve met my writing goal for the first month of the year, can I continue the momentum?

I plan on it.

Writing Accomplishments

This morning, I finished the first draft of my first novel.  NaNoWriMo helped me complete a good portion of the manuscript.  The holidays were only small obstacles to overcome as I crept closer and closer to completion.  This past week, I tasted the end, and woke up early this morning determined to push through.  At 10:02AM, I added a period to the last sentence.

I already have a list of items to change/update/polish, but for now, I’ll move on to short story.

I have a 17-page list of story ideas that need reviewing.  And writing.

Building Your Platform – Do You Need a Business Page on Facebook?

I read this article from Rob Biesenbach, which raised a few questions.


  • Do authors create a business page on Facebook to grow their platform, or do they just use their personal page?  How do you separate your personal life from your business?
  • How many authors capture their readers’ email addresses?  What programs out there are highly recommended?
  • Do you believe blogging is going away, or just transforming into a new medium?
  • Will Facebook become just a channel to promote work because of the ease of adding friends, or will it remain a social gathering place to discuss work?

What are your thoughts?  How do you use Facebook?  How often do you blog?  Do you capture your readers’ email addresses?

Leave a comment and we’ll discuss.  Better yet, pass this on and let’s get a broader discussion going.

In the meantime, keep writing.

What Helps You Write?

Background noise helps me write.  Sometimes it’s the noise from outside. Usually, it’s music.  I would listen to my music library via iTunes, or Pandora when I needed a change.  Now, its iTunes Radio.

People know I’m a Apple Fanboy.  I love Apple products because they just work.  When I need them to work.  They don’t take long to set up, maintain, or are replaced very often.  iTunes Radio has grown on me now that I’ve been working from home.  I started sampling their playlists on the iTunes Radio homepage, and got my holiday music fix from two channels.

I usually swap between a couple of channels when writing; The Grey Havens Radio and Chill Out: Ambient.  If you like great fantasy soundtrack music, The Grey Havens is a great choice.   Just need some ambient sounds to help you find a creative edge to your writing?  Then try Chill Out.

But then, The Best of 2013 Singer/Songwriter popped up, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I don’t like every song that has played, and iTunes Radio has a handy feature to skip that song.  Just like Pandora.  And just like Pandora, iTunes Radio plays ads – but I don’t mind.  It’s a free service, so they have to make it free somehow.  I usually get up from my desk for a break during the commercials anyway.

So, what helps you write?