There are a nice plethora of "how do I create a name for my fictional country/area/character" but I can't see anything for band names or companies or hotels.

Is there a good system to use to avoid already active bands/hotels etc?

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    Hi Puffafish! Welcome to Writing.SE. Please take a look at our tour and help center pages, you might find them helpful. I'm not sure I understand your question: why should a name for a company or a hotel be different from a place for a place or a character, in terms of how you create them? Oct 18, 2018 at 14:07
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    @Galastel the main concern I've got is that hotels and companies tend to have unique names which they have built their reputation on. If I include a name in a book and the hotel (for example) is a horrible place (as required by the story) then the real hotel may take umbrage at my work. A person or a place is going to be less concerned about reputation etc.
    – Puffafish
    Oct 18, 2018 at 14:18

2 Answers 2


This is why many works of fiction have a disclaimer about how the work is pure fiction and any coincidence to real life is just that... so if you want to talk about your characters staying in a crappy Best Western, you can do that.

Generally, though, writers will use an obvious stand in for a company or band if they are going to make jokes about the service. This will be a pastiche in names like "Eastern Quality Hotels" which is immediately identifiable, and actually obscures which real world brand of hotels your mocking ("Quality Inns" is another chain that has some business relations with Best Western). A rental car company could be named "Voyager" to spoof "Enterprise", another car company or "Payne" which would spoof "Hurtz".

Band Names are a lot more difficult because it is largely dependent on the genre, the trends in names when they formed, and how serious you want to band name to be. Even in real life, some bands with similar markets (let's take the bands made of young men to target a teenage female demographic) can run a huge gamut of names. Even if it's the screaming fan girl pulling young men, there is a world of difference as tho whether it's The Beatles (Spoof: The Flies), The Backstreet Boys (Spoof: Alley Way Lads), or One Direction (Stay-In-Lane) and what image the name would work towards. even my spoofs conjure different respects I have for the listed "Boy Bands". The Flies could be a legit contemporary band, Alley Way Lads is a spoof of the 90s naming trends, and Stay-In-Lane is open mockery of the rather limited cooperate image of the targeted band that also doubles as Traffic Signage.

You also want to go with a fake band in most cases, but here, because some bands could get caught in the cross fire, it pays to paint with broad strokes. If your character is in a fictional band, it works to come up with a realistic band name... the best way to do that is just picking random non-sense phrases, unusal word combinations, and things that could have deeper meaning (or sound like they have deeper meaning, but it's obvious the drummer named the band). Choose some inspirational heroes for the band that are Real World (it's fair for them to have RL bands that they are peers of if your Band is a peer of the RL one in your fiction, with various levels of respect from the RL band.).

Remember, the phrase "Great Name for a Band" does come from the rather non-sense nature of band names, most of which are based on in jokes form the bands formative years or intentionally unusual phrasing that they add the lore too.

  • There was a tempest in a Crock-Pot a few months ago over the TV show This Is Us's use of the brand. inc.com/amy-george/… (warning, spoilers for the show) Oct 18, 2018 at 15:45
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    Especially because Crock-Pot is generic brand. Basically there is someone who owns the name for a slow cooker called a Crock-Pot... but the term is so associated with slow cooker that people use it to describe a slow cooker that is not made by Crock-Pot. Other such items include Jello-o for gelatin desert or Xerox for a photocopier or Band-aid for adhesive bandages.
    – hszmv
    Oct 18, 2018 at 15:56

If what you're looking for is not stand-ins for real places, but just a generic place for your characters to be in, look at how real company names, real hotel names, real band names etc. are formed.

Companies often have a name formed around the product they sell (such as Toys-R-Us) or the founders' names (for example Marks&Spencer). You can create a fictional company that follows the same pattern.

Hotels often incorporate into their name some local feature or historical figure, and/or something that suggests rest/luxury.

A name for a band, as @hszmv mentions, can be anything really.

Now that you've come up with a name, run a google search, make sure nobody has thought up the same name before you. If the name is already taken, tweak yours. If it's free, you're good to go.

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