I spend quite a few hours picking the right names for my characters. It's darn near like naming a child, since once I've committed to a name - I can't change it, at least not when it comes to a main protagonist. Side characters' names I can change, and often have during the editing process.
So, how do I go about picking the name? Well, I enlist my best friend, and together, via Skype, do we go through two great name sites that I found on the web.
We make a list of possible, going yeh or neh, whlie reading them out. You can browse names there and pick between different origins, such as English, Irish, Spanish, Native American, African, Asian etc.
Same with the surname. Sometimes we laugh so hard at name combinations that I lose my focus for a bit and have to regroup and start over. I mean - there is nothing WRONG with a name such as Millicent McIntosh... but usually I try for something a bit more slick, or more common. But now I have a feeling that Millicent might show up as a side character one day, since writing her name gave me a strong vision of a tall, gangly woman with a stubborn mind. *grin*
So, you writers of fiction and fan fiction out there - and the ones of your who have children and/or Pets - how do you choose names. It's such an important choice for a child especially - you can make or break'em, according to studies made recently. ||LINK||
Look forward to your comments!