An idea that I've been turning over in my mind for, like, evar has finally blossomed. I may do this one for Nano instead of Charmed Circle. It's going to take me a lot of heavy-duty plotting and worldbuilding in the next three weeks, but I should be able to do it.
First step at this point is to name my main characters, which will help me make some decisions on how they play off one another. I sat down with two name books and made some lists earlier.
The bad guy's name was easy to pick out. He's going to be Byron, rakish and dark. Also corny, but I think I can pull it off. Once I had his name, I had to strike Rowan, Tobin, Alban, Kilian, and Tarkin from the good guy name list (-en names are hot now for guys, have you noticed?). None of those were right anyway. I picked Asher instead, to be abbreviated to Ash--but I changed my mind when I thought that sounded like a Buffy name. Since that character's a vampire, I had to strike any possible Buffy connotation names, which isn't easy since I've never watched that show. After a lot of thought, I picked Vincent instead. That happens to be the name of one of my cats, but I really like the name and I think it'll work well for that character.
So now I have the bad guy, Byron, and the good guy, Vincent. The main character's name is a lot more difficult. I'd like to avoid another two-syllable name if I can. One-syllable women's names are fairly rare, but they're almost always strong--stronger than I really want. Three-syllable women's names are common, but they tend to sound too soft. I want a feminine sounding name but not a frilly or girly one.
I need a three-syllable name with hard consonants, then, but I can't use a B, R, N, V, or S. I can probably get away with a T since it doesn't really sound in Vincent. See how difficult this is? You think I'm being picky, I bet, but it really is vitally important that my main character's name doesn't echo the names of other characters too much.
I don't think I know my main character well enough to name her yet. But at least I've named the two other main characters. Boys are always easier for me to name than girls; maybe that's why the girls end up with clunky names like Hilda and Ellen.