This is off of a comment I did on Facebook...and I thought it was rather informative and since I hadn't updated in a while, I decided I may as well put it up as a blog post. :D
I really hate naming characters. I usually go through a name change at least once for each char (and I'm lucky if it's only once.) In The Shadow, the only char who's ever kept his name from the first draft till now is Garret, and in the first draft it was Garrett, with two T's. I dunno if that counts as a name change, it doesn't sound like one. But the other MC, Evelyn, went through literally about 14 names that I tried on and decided didn't suit her.
Most of the chars which kept their names all the way until now are ones that I haven't really put much thought into (e.g. chars in books I wrote over the summer for fun, so I'm sure when I edit there'll be a lot of name changes.)
I seem to mold a char's personality around their name. Which is sometimes a problem.
Olivia kept her name so far, but what's funny is when I first did the 5 attempts to write that book (all of which failed to pass ten pages, until finally I reached this version that worked,) she didn't have a set name. Nothing seemed to fit. So for now she's Olivia...for all I know, next year she'll be something else.
I don't have general rules for picking a name, really. In the end, it's whatever fits. :-/ I know I found a name that works when...hmm, I guess it's when I can visualize a solid 3D character, with every feature perfectly worked out, behind the name I chose. Like with Evelyn I could finally see that she was medium height, long brown hair that's wavy, and worried-looking green eyes. Before that, it was as if I saw something close to that, but through static. I could see the hair color change from red to blond to black and it never seemed to settle. Same goes for Garrett. When he had two T's in his name, he looked really blurry in my mind. Until I got rid of one T. Strange, right?