I've been pondering names for the last few days, trying to figure out what to call my new characters. At some point, I should probably break down and buy a baby name book, but for now, I'm enjoying the name generator feature on Scrivener. I've also been reading EVERYTHING around me, looking for potential inspiration--street signs, package labels, news articles--you name it, I've been soaking it in.
I generally like to go with names that are more traditional rather than trendy. I think a traditional-sounding name fits well with the type of stories I write, and my characters seem to respond to them, which is always a good thing.
I also consider how the name 'sounds' to the reader. I don't want my readers to have any trouble pronouncing my character's names. I know it always throws me out of the story if I have to stop and sound the name out in my head every time I read it. I think character names should help the story flow, rather than act as a distraction.
What about you? If you're a writer, how do you name your characters? As a reader, are there certain names you enjoy and those you hate? How do character names affect your enjoyment of a book?