I have used this site for years for kids names and to help me with stories.
It has a random name generator where you can choose what influence you want (Russian, biblical, ect.) and it will display random names for you. Just keep refreshing the page and presto character name ideas. (Its called Random Rename on the home page).
You can search by meaning, so if you want a name that has a symbolic meaning you can search for it. My character Amadi in a recent story about death came from this site. Name means "seemed destined to die at birth."
Has names for twins, name themes, and anagram names. You can also see popular names both current and years past.
Not only is it fun to use, but great tool for writing after all we need names all the time. Hope it helps some of you.
They usually emerge as I'm writing the actual narrative...and, if I get one I don't like, thanks to the magic of word processing I can change it everywhere at once.
I am on the prowl for unfamilar-but-real names to put to use...usually I find them.
Name of the day was even cool - Nagendra - love it
I too use labels such as Name1 and replace them later. I do this for minor characters. It helps to have full names for major characters because a name is basically their most potent property - the only one a reader actually sees.
I also tend to stick to a rule: the more a name is used, the simpler it should be. You can't have a complex name coming up on every page, unless you use a short version of it. I like to give minor characters exotic names because the names themselves are adornments.
In my story before last, as I was naming my lead character, I thought of the novel "Becky Sharp." So my lead character became "Becky Flatt." Then, while writing, I had irrelevant associations with "Flatt and Scruggs," and, besides, I kept associating the "Becky" part with a "Becky" I know personally. So, in one of the last changes I made to the story, I changed it altogether...and, you know, I can't remember off-hand what I changed it to...
I'm only joking.
Actually, names come quite easy for me. Sometimes as the character evolves, I end up changing it. I like names that sound like normal names, but are slightly different. Like Davis instead of David or Bobs instead of Bob or Nyk instead of Nick and so forth.
Plotting is the part that kills me. Outlining is tough and I'm afraid I will never write a first draft of a story that won't need a major rewrite. It's been getting better, though, so maybe there's hope.