Creating character names seems to be kind of like how pharmaceutical companies come up with prescription drug names--you don't want anything too on the money, but with enough suggestion that people get your "message" without you having to lift a finger. The FDA won't let you get away with calling an Rx "Sleepy-time", but they're okay with "Lunesta," which is sort of a combination of the romance language root for "moon" ("lune" or "luna") and "rest" (without the "r", of course.)
Same with characters--it's never good to name a villain "Mistress Black Hat" but a name like "Maleficent" tells you all you really need to know, even before you start reading. Consider all the nice little suggestions in the name--it's contains a bit of all of these:
|Jolie as Maleficent, from Eonline.|
1. Mal or Malevolent -- "Mal" being french for "bad", and "malevolent" meaning evil or ill-willed in English.
2. Magnificent -- Awesome, extravagant, larger-than-life
3. Millicent -- A girl's name meaning "work" or "strength"
4. Mellifluous -- Of sound, meaning sweet or musical
5. Cent -- This might be a stretch, but "cent" reminds me of "century", which suggests something ancient
The resulting combination hints at a character who is powerful and strong, ancient and dangerous, and possibly even beautiful or delicate. Not bad for four syllables.