What’s Your Name? Who’s Your Daddy?

I’m in the middle of coming up with a name for my evil (bwahaha) character.  It’s taken me much longer than I’d anticipated, but I am loving the process.  Most of the time, names come to me pretty easily.  When I need a little help (especially if I want the name to reflect the character’s heritage), I first refer to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Character Naming Sourcebook.  I like it because it sorts surnames and first names (along with their meanings) by country of origin.  I like the book because many of the names listed are based on names in legend, and I use those names to search the internet for other names associated with those legends.  The cool thing about researching legends is that so many of them overlap cultures; so there is usually a plethora of names (and idea-inspiring tales) associated with a particular legend; and of course there are the parents and children of the legend that have stories of their own.   Usually a few short days of research yields a short list of both first and last names that sound both poetic and mean something (at least to me). 
Once I have my short list of names, I say the first and last names aloud to see how they sound.  I want names that sound good when spoken.  I often find that I may love the way a name is written, but that it doesn’t sound the same in my head as it does when I say it out loud.  When that happens, I’ll either change the spelling of the name, or rule it out completely. 
Once I’ve narrowed the selection down to one or two names that sound good, I go through the alphabet, looking for rhymes (like the banana game) on the first and last name.  Believe it or not, this step often makes the final determination for me on the name, because it shakes out other famous character names that I might have unconsciously modeled this character after.  In the Fate book, I had completed the entire first draft of the story before I realized that my main character’s name sounded too much like another famous character’s.
The final check I do is on the internet.  I look up this character name under several of the major search engines, looking for other names or context for the name.  For example, I had a character name (in this case, Merrick) in mind that I thought was perfect, until I did an internet search on the name found literally pages of entries for all kinds of companies and literary characters that had the same name.  Since I didn’t want to worry about conflicts or having my character associated with the characters of other stories, I chose a different name. 
  In the case of my afore-mentioned evil character, I had the name of an already infamous (and unique) character that I couldn’t get out of my head.  A few days of internet searching on words and images that reminded me of that name led me down an unexpected avenue that not only yielded a rich source of new character names, but  several ideas for new characters and an additional subplot or two.  Bwahaha indeed. 
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