I remember when my husband and I came up with a name for our son. We, of course, wanted a great name because after all he would carry it for the rest of his life, be identified with it, yada yada. When we tossed names around, kicked them around like kicking the tires on a used car, we decided we wanted something short, masculine, easily spelled and we didn't want to give him a BABY name that would haunt him later. I'm sure there are plenty of new parents who look at their tiny, itty bitty boy and can come up with a million "cutesy" names that fit perfectly but that "cutesy pie" name is gonna stink to high heaven when he's a thirty year old man. If I were that guy, I'd be headed to see someone "legal-like" to apply for a name change.
I'm constantly thinking of that when coming up with names for my heroes. Female character names aren't as big of a problem, to me. I think of something and BAM, that's it. It's all rather organic. Characters will have certain traits that remind me of particular names so that's the name they'll get. As as rule, I avoid faddy names. A look at an elementary school yearbook can be a big clue as to the current fads. I avoid them like the plague and try like everything to choose more common names. Male characters pose a completely different set of problems. For me, my over the top Alpha male character will NOT have a baby name. That's the bottom line. My heroine doesn't want to yell out a baby name when in the throes of passion with this guy. I would mention some of those names but sure as I do, someone will write and tell me that's what she named HER itty bitty boy thirty years ago or maybe she gave that little boy name to the hulking alpha hero of her latest romantic suspense. I'm not in this gig to make enemies so, nope, no examples but if you are guilty of using littly boy names then you probably know who you are.
Wish I had a big, character naming secret to share but I really don't. Names come to me. I don't thumb through baby naming books either. I avoid weird names and tend to go toward more average sounding names. It's my preference. Nothing is more irritating that reading a book and you don't know how to pronounce the name and have to stop in the middle of things to dig out a dictionary. Irritating.