I love, and hate, coming up with character names. With some characters the name just comes to me. Sometimes it is a common name that you could hear anywhere. Sometimes it is a name that is totally fictional.
But most of the time I struggle to come up with names for my characters. It is so hard. I feel like a characters name embodies who they are. So picking a name can be very difficult for me.
So where do I find my character names? (The ones that don't just come to me, that is.)
Baby name books and websites.
When I was in... oh I was young. Let's just leave it at that. When I was young I went to the book store and purchased two baby name books. I remember being in the story and having this lady look at me weird. Because I was a teenager. It was so annoying I actually called her on it and told her what I was buying the books for. I don't think she believed me.
I digress, back to the topic: When I create new worlds for my fantasy novels, I often have an existing culture or group of cultures that I base it off of. So when I go to name characters I want something the embodies that existing culture. For example, if my fictional kingdom is a mix between Celtic and Chinese culture - I want a name that sounds both Celtic and Chinese. This is where the websites come in handy. I just do a Google search for "Celtic Names" or "Chinese Names" read through a few and the choose, or alter a name.
I have even used this same method for naming places.
How do you find names for your characters?