When I write for myself or name my SIMS characters, I pick a name I love that I would never give an actual child. I have so much sympathy for the poor girl who goes to my brother’s high school named Antigone. Beautiful name… if her parents had known how to pronounce it when they gave it to her. Sometimes I just need to get insane names out of my system. I don’t want to have my hypothetical future child named teased over names like Chai, Isolde, or Paprika. I pull from whatever my muse comes up with first, but naming characters that enter the public domain is different. In some cases, such as RP sites, so long as the name is pronounceable and either easy to spell or easily shortened into something that is, my names can primarily reflect my own wants.
On Dae Luin (http://daeluin.net/), a fantasy role play site, I play characters with names including Willow, Kiska, Paisley, and Iphigenia (which I let people shorten to Iphy).
In SIMS2, and I’m pretty sure SIMS3, you cannot see the personality of the child before you name them, so I often use the parents to pick names for the children. For example, Willow was named after the tree under which she was conceived, a pattern I plan on continuing with her children who will get names like River and Whiskey for the one conceived in a tavern.
I’ve also picked names based on meaning before. Kiska (Pure) is a pure white snow tiger shifter on Dae Luin who named her daughter Iphigenia for the meaning “born strong,” because they had just been abandoned by Kiska’s husband and son, so she did not want her daughter growing up with a frufru fairy name. Babynames.com is a good resource.
What are some of your favorite character names, either from your own work or someone else’s?
For writers who struggle with naming their characters, babynames.com has a section with tips for writers: http://www.babynames.com/character-names.php