Thursday, April 8, 2010

From Formspring: Where did you get your characters names from?

Some of the names I picked have cultural and mythological significance. I use a lot of resources for this, but one of the most valuable is the Encyclopedia of World Mythology by Arthur Cotterell. In addition to an exhaustive amount of information about mythology and folklore from ALL parts of the world, it is lavishly illustrated. Highly recommended.

For more mundane names, the handiest book I have for that is The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon. More than just a list of names, it breaks them up by gender, nationality and ethnicity. In addition, the opening text of each chapter explains how specific cultures go about assigning and structuring names. Not everyone does the First name + middle name + Family name, and anyone trying to construct realistic characters from those cultures are well served to research how they assign names. Plus, it has an index so it's fun to look up other people's names.