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The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook 2nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The lists of names from different cultures also seemed good at first, while I was still browsing through cultures I don't know a thing about. Then came the lists dealing with my own culture, that of Sweden, and my enthusiasm died. A quick summary:
1) Kenyon has confused male and female names. Under Female, we find the quite masculine Adrian, Lage, Svante and a few others. The female names Bodil and Valborg turn up under Male.
2) Many of the names haven't been common for about a thousand years (Saxe, Alrik), are extremely rare (Guda), or simply aren't Swedish at all (Quenby).
3) The dots and rings are missing. It might seem overly picky to complain about something like that, but an A with a ring over it isn't just some kind of modified A--it's a whole other letter. Personally, when I'm studying names from a foreign culture that uses the Latin alphabet, I want the original spelling rather than an anglified version of it.
There are other things to complain about, but I'll stop there--obviously, using these lists to find names for Swedish characters may not give you the result that you want, and Swedes may end up laughing at your story.Read more ›
Beginning with The Importance of a Name you discover ways to make people care about the person simply by choosing a name. Next is the importance of Characternyms, or what does the name impart? One of the examples is Magnum from the Hawaii based TV series starring Tom Selleck. Magnum is not only a wine bottle that holds twice as much as a normal liter, but it is also a very powerful bullet. We are presented with a hero that is "bigger than life" but who also is effervescent, strong, and brings the ring of sex appeal that champagne, laughter and a stunning force carry with them. It was a masterful name selection.
There are names by genre, gender, country (including illusive Native American, Latin, Greek, Russian and more) as well as notes in how to use the names to create the right impression: for example "...the Norman invasion in 1066...English were referred to by occupation...Aiken the Miller or Aisley of York."
Character Naming Source Book is filled with gems and is far more than a general account about names. For example Victoria (my name) is Latin and means triumphant. Feminine derivatives are also Viktoria (Hungarian-victorious, Swedish-victory) Vittoria (Spanish-victor), Victrix, Vincentia, Victrixa; in Scottish Vika is "from the creek" and Torra is "from the castle." It would appear that I am a triumphant female from the castle by the creek. This is only a small sample of the wealth within these pages.
Without doubt this is one of most complete histories of names that I have ever read, and I have about five books just on naming. I recommend this book unequivocally.
Another thing this book is good for is for fantasy writing. How many of you have a read a fantasy story and found the names of characters so strange that it could only have been made up? This book actually tells us to use established names and warp them or combine them to give more suitable fantasy names.
This book also has a huge selection of nationalities, from African to Welsh, and everything between, including dead languages such as Latin, as well as Asian nationalities like Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. It provides male and female names as well as their meanings, along with common family names.
Though The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook obviously isn't meant for every writer, it's definitely an important book for fiction writers. It helps to legitimize a story's plot or theme by providing meaningful names, and also shows that a writer is willing to do some research in order to succeed in his or her writing. So, if you you're a genre writer, I'd highly recommend this book, and put the phone book back where it should be: next to your phone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would recommend both editions of this book. While the new edition has names from more countries and cultures, it has significantly shorter name lists from each country. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
There are many ideas for female, male and last names along ethnic lines. It was interesting and a giggle to read some of the old ones.Published 11 months ago by KathPoole
I have loved this book for 20 years or more. My hard copy got ruined and never returned when I loaned it out. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Cynthia Kolicius
Besides the ugly-butt cover, it's a valuable resource book and can fit in any bag on the go.Published 21 months ago by A. D. K.
I love this resource! I have several name books but this one also includes some surnames. I'm always struggling for last names!!Published 22 months ago by Karen Docter
This is a book that I've had since 2006 and it has been extremely helpful to me in writing my books. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Sonya Jeffords