Charles Dickens is the best of the best when it comes to this technique. What kind of personality do the following names foreshadow when they're first introduced?
Personally, I don't think there's a hero in that bunch. Here's a grouping of names taken from my own writing. Who are the heroes?
Clive Witherskim Ethan Goodwin Nigel Thorne Alexander Moore
You got it: Ethan & Alexander. Pretty easy, eh? And all accomplished with two little names.
But sometimes it's more complicated than cracking open a baby name book and running your finger down the page. Different genres call for different tactics. For instance, in writing historical, specifically in the regency era, I can't have a character named Zuba Starshine and have it be believable. That would be more of a 1960's hippie kind of name. And what if you're writing a pirate series? How to come up with something more original than Blackbeard?
I came across some great name generating sites for help in situations such as these. Stop by and check them out even if you're not currently looking for character ideas...they're a 'Heap' of fun.
Ethnic Name Generator
Pirate Name Generator
Fantasy Name Generator
Nerd Name Generator
Jedi Name Generator
Hip Hop Name Generator
Celebrity Baby Name Generator
Mafia Name Generator
And those are just a few. Next time you need to name a character, do a little research and give it some meaning. It worked for Dickens (every one of his books is STILL in print). It can work for you.