Not every Tom Dick and Harry are acceptable these days.
Finding a name for a character can be hard. I struggle when it comes to my contemporary stories, but fantasy or Science Fiction – that’s easier.
For Science Fiction or Fantasy, you can make the name up. For Shards of Ice, I had one name – Vyvica – which I always imagined would be shortened to Vy (rhymes with Pie), however, she insisted on being called Vyvica or Commander – so that went out the window. I also wanted a rather gothic styled name, and what is more gothic than lots of pointy characters? Kelvaras is a different story – his name is based on a place in the United States (Calaveras County), but when I heard it, I loved it, and modified it for the story. Ch’ar, the resident bad guy – I translated Evil from another language and then played with the letters. Now Tyron is a name I have always loved. It can be spelt various ways, by Tairon din’t have the right look for me, hence the Ty instead.
Some names come from mixing up others. Like Gallandra – comes from Gallant and Sandra. I have lots of fun making up names.
But more contemporary stories are harder. Tom, Dick and Harry are rather old fashioned names, and don’t really suit a strong alpha male like they used to. Sometimes I go through internet sites, and I have a word that I want to encapsulate the male character, like strong. If I looked that up, it comes up with:
Andrew (Andy, Drew, Andre, Anders, Andreas)
Interesting names to say the least, but there are a few one could chose from. The only ones on there that sounds Alpha male-ish to me are Ethan (my hero in Cursed Love), Garrett (could simplify to Rett), and Griffin (which I used in my selkie story as Gryffyn.
I also own a name book, and often I will pick a page and go through the names on the pages until I find one I like. This is how I came up with Harley Orion and Larissa in my current WiP Running Away.The only downside to using naming books is that they can become outdated very quickly, so the internet is the best offering.
Watching television and reading books will also give you good strong names for your characters. Television shows that you enjoy watching will give you names that you like to hear, or that sound like a good strong male character, or even the actors themselves like Ryan (Gosling), Vin (Diesel), Jake (Gyllenhaal), Robert (Downey Jnr), Chris (Hemsworth), Channing (Tatum), Matthew (McConaghy) – you get the drift.
So naming characters can become a bit of a chore, but when you find the right name and it fits, go with it. Use it to talk to your character, describe your character, you will know if he / she likes it or not, and if it doesn’t feel right, switch to another.