How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?
Anywhere and everywhere.
In earlier pieces, I went so far as to pick completely random words and reverse them, finding any decent-sounding names for places and people alike in amongst the masses of gobbledygook.
My earliest series (The Oracle Trilogy, unfinished and likely never to be released) had people, creatures, and an entire universe built largely on these kind of names. Adrustast, the world in which The Oracle was set, is basically Saturday backwards.
The only name that has carried across into the more recent stories is Aisen, whose name came from Genesia, a shape-shifting wolf/dragon/man from The Oracle, again with a little tweak or two. I later learned that Aisen is also the name of a region in Chile.
Most other names are those I’ve just picked up as I’ve gone along, usually weeks, months or years after I’ve first come across them (for example, Catrina was the name of a German exchange student I briefly encountered while at senior school, and Nine Days vocalist and guitarist Brian Desveaux inspired the name of the Devaux lineage).
If I’m running a little short on inspiration, of course, I still fall back on the likes of the Internet for name generators and the like, but I always prefer to put something from myself in the characters / places / names I create.
If you are interested in doing your own 30 Days of Writing, here are the questions.