It doesn’t matter if you’re a plotter or a pantser. Or if you come up with the storyline before the characters. At some point, you’re going to have to name every character in your book. From the lead to the little guy who’s the comic relief. Just like naming a child, naming your characters is important and can be a time consuming process. You don’t want to be typing a name over and over that you hate. Unless it’s the antagonist. Then it’s okay to hate them. 😉 Another thing to consider is where they’re from. If your character is comes from a very traditional family in the south, his name probably isn’t going to be Jermagesty or Kal-El. The same goes for age. If your trying to come up with a name for somebody’s grandparents, they will be more along the lines of Thomas and Cheryl than Mason and Ava.
Do your research. Check out the Social Security Administration site for names popular by years and/or decades. Trying to find a name based on country or ancestry? Try this site. One of my favorite tools to use when I need a random name for someone who’s not as important in my novel, but still needs a name, is a baby naming book I got when I was pregnant with my oldest.
That’s all great, but what if I’m writing a fantasy/sci-fi/space opera/WoW novel? Well, there are resources for those, too! Try this one and this one. I have personally used both in coming up with names in my WIPs. The second one even has a generator for coming up with names for places. What other resources have you found useful when coming up with name?