This is the family that lives with mine, and they like to whisper names into my ear while I am writing.
Names of places
And sometimes if they are feeling very eccentric, they will give me a made-up name. (They have visited others and credit themselves entirely for the naming of Hogwarts and Narnia.)
But seriously, how do you select a name?
I have spent a lot of time on baby name websites in the past, scrolling through decade appropriate names before landing on the perfect name. On the other hand, I have also had the name just come to me as soon as the concept for the novel is created, and once she's named, she can't be unnamed...even if I don't like the name.
Sometimes the Propers are very poor guests, and after a character is named, they huff and say, "Jane? You called her JANE?? Who's going to believe that!?" (None of my characters are really called Jane...yet.) Can a name be unbelievable? Maybe too trendy? Too contrived??
What about places? I have trouble writing my main character in Kansas City. It's too real for me to play make-believe in. Do you write your main character in the city you know best? Or do you place her in a city you would like to know best? What about made-up names for cities? That way, no one can say, "I am from there, and that is NOT what it's like."
And made-up words. I mean, if they are good, they are GOOD. Muggles didn't exist before J.K. Rowling invented them (with the musing help of above family), and now they will never be forgotten. But, if they are bad then they are just laughable. And discredit the believability of your book.
Juliet wants to know what is in a name? A LOT.
But I think Lucy Maud's Anne says it best:
"I read a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage."
Who wants a dozen thistles for Valentine's day?