Naming Characters and the Challenges Involved
Characters can be extraordinarily annoying. Similar to real people, they can be chameleon-like, changing as soon as you think you know who they are. Although, after a certain point, they don't change too much. Anyway, this is part of the reason why, for me, it can be so challenging to name them. The name has to be perfect, fitting the character entirely, and not being the name of anyone I know or want to name my future children. It also can't be too similar to the name of an already created character (if it is unusual), or one of my other characters. Of course, my characters have their own opinions too. It's always extremely clear when a name doesn't fit. For that reason, many of my characters go through many incarnations before I am happy with them. I'm sure many of you can understand this. So, in order to provide you with more resources to name your own characters, without further ado, here are some naming websites I find useful.
http://appellationmountain.net/: lists a new name every day, and has series/articles every so often.
http://www.behindthename.com/: you can look up basically any name, and find its popularity, meaning, variations, diminutives, and origins.
http://bewitchingnamesplus.blogspot.com/: pagan name website. Has names inspired by absolutely anything, especially holidays, myths, and fairytales.
http://www.britishbabynames.com/: exactly what is sounds like. There are popular name lists, names from newspaper announcements, names that are spotlighted, and names from advice articles.
http://dmnes.org/: dictionary of medieval names and their usages, as well as variations between countries. They have a fairly large collection.
http://www.firstnamesgermany.com/: It has German name laws, German name statistics, and common German names. The hit list of popular names reaches back to 1890.
http://nameberry.com/: names and their meanings, lists, blog posts, and forums. Has a huge database and good search engines.
http://smynameissophie.blogspot.com/: name blog. The posts generally run in series, so if you're looking for a particular type of name, it can be really helpful.
http://www.theartofnaming.com/: Has all types of names. Literally from A-Z; there is a series called 'Best of [letter]'. There are also advice posts, as well as names of all kinds of origins.
http://thebeautyofnames.blogspot.com/: name blog run by a writer. Many posts are part of series, and the lists are fairly comprehensive.
Well, this wasn't by any means an exhaustive list, but I hope it was helpful, and that your characters are at least marginally cooperative.
Signing off, Mareike.
P.S.: Which websites do you all find useful when naming and creating your characters? What processes do you go through?