Tip of the day: If you are going to travel south for a winter vacation, be prepared with many books for the inevitable airport delays. My vacation reading this past week? FALLEN by Lauren Kate; BOYS, GIRLS & OTHER DANGEROUS MATERIALS by Rosalind Wiseman; SHANGHAI GIRLS by Lisa See; and ALL UNQUIET THINGS by Anna Jarzab.
To come up with a character's first name, I mainly go with my first instinct of whatever name jumps into my head. When I'm "forced" to change it bc it ends up being too similar to another character's name, then it is hard for me but I'm usually not that committed to a name. I just have to remember to keep using the new name.
But for last names, I have more trouble. A last name can signify a family heritage, which can then imply a certain look, attitude, family, and friends for your character. I tend to stay away from last names for my main characters that sound Italian bc I don't want them to be character versions of me. I seem to pick "generic" sounding last names bc I honestly don't refer to a character's last name that often.
For my current WIP, I realized that I needed a last name for my MC that would be used more often than in my other books, and something that could sound a bit more "fancy" for her TV stint. So she is now Lilly Aubendale. Her best friend is Marisha. And yes, I stole the first names from my coworkers who I think are partly flattered and partly like "OK, my boss is weird."
But going back to last names, um, I may be changing mine.... My manpanion bequeathed me with a diamond while on vacation! Woo hoo! His last name is still very Italian so I feel like my "heritage" and Sicilian identity would still be intact. But it's kind of like changing a character's name when you hit page 200 of a book. Can you re-identify yourself with a new name like you can with a character?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing