1. City/Country/Planet of the Story. Are there any names common to the setting of your story? For example, Edward is great for a turn of the century romance, or a Vampire, but as an Alien fighting Zombies? Possibly not. Think, like, really hard, -what name fits your setting?
2. Sexual Ambiguity. And, I'm talking about the symbols on the bathroom doors here, you know the circle with the arrow, and the circle like, with the cross? Yes, those ones, -Male vs. Female. Avoid confusion, try to steer away from androgyness sounding names. There's nothing more frustrating than reading the first few chapters of a book before realising that Alex is actually Alexandria, Sam is really Samantha, and well, 'Jacks' really is Jack the bloke version, not derived of our dear Jacqueline variety.
3. Avoid the cliche' - as in, names that have already been around the block recently, like, several times. Look at the recent bestsellers in your chosen genre, -do we really need another Bella, Dan, Luce, Harry, Sam, Hermoine? Oh wait, -Hermoine? It's your story, it should be original! Start afresh, give them brand spanking new names, puh-lease!
4. Names that fit your genre. YA vs Period Romance vs Sci-Fantasy vs Steampunk vs Womens Literature, the list, like the possibilities, is endless. And so, if you are tossing up on Harold, James, Jana, Sam (there's that name again), Zaza, Nana, Alice, Pete, Sylvia, -pick the name that fits your genre and time period.
5. Age-clothing-style-appropriateness. So, I could've just stuck with age, but here's the thing -keep your character in character, start with a great name that fits. Like any good lady knows, one must dress one's age, and it helps if your writer clearly defines this from the outset. Don't give the black-robed spinster a name like Jade, nor bestow a young rockstar with Camilla. Keep your characters happy, give them the best names you can find, after all a happy character makes a happy story right? This is me, assuming you're writing happy endings again.
Tell me, how do you pick your characters names?
A/N: I hope you had a wonderful, restful weekend. I certainly did, and I managed to keep moving with my edits, which makes me happy. One last tip for characters names, if in doubt, do what millions of humans do daily - 'google' names, baby names, characters names, 'google' like there's no tomorrow, because...if you 'google', you will find one. Trust me. Have a great week!