It's all in a name. Have you ever noticed how people just are their names? My husband and I struggled over what to name our son. He wanted our son to be named after him and his father. I wanted something different and cool sounding. In the end I caved and our son is a third. Now 10 months later watching him play I can't imagine calling him the other name I so wanted. That name just isn't him - his name suits him perfect.
The same thing goes with my characters. I am so funny that I not only have their first names, but I also give each individual one a middle name and last name - even if it never comes out in the book. It's part of creating a real life character. How many people do you know that only have a first name? I'm suspecting that number is close to zero.
I have had names picked out for my protagonist and her counterparts for well over a year. Recently, I read a blurb someone wrote about another book written by another author. It's a book I'd like to read. Problem is one of her main characters has a very similar name to my protagonist. ACK! I nearly fell over.
Since then I have opened my mind to changing my protagonist's name. So, what's the big idea you might ask? Her name suits her already in my mind. At the same time I can't give her a name that is so similar to an already published characters name. I've decided that for the moment I will continue to use the name I gave her. When I edit my story, just before I submit it, I will again look at her name and see if there is anything else I like better.
How do you come up with your characters' names?