I name my sourdough starter "Legion" because that's what it is. Because I think it's funny. Because that's who I am.
I am not the kind of person who names things--that is, objects. Characters, yes. Stories, chapters, books, games--I've named plenty of each. I name in-game terms and abilities. I name game development processes. I do not name things. I've never named a car, or a computer, or a favorite anything. Once when I was a kid, I named my Gummi Bear stuffie "Gummi."
My sourdough starter is not a person; it is not a singular entity. It is a collection of micro-organisms, at this point far more numerous than a Roman legion or the biblical demonic collective that proclaimed itself Many.
I cull its numbers daily, throwing out the majority of the culture each morning and night and adding more food for the survivors, so they can grow and reproduce until I throw the majority of them out again. Cultivating a sourdough starter requires a certain mercilessness. Perhaps it's best not to get too attached.
When my wife and I were expecting our baby, we had a list of boys' names a mile long we could agree on and not a single girl's name. Then we found out the baby was (biologically at least) female, and we had to get to work. After much negotiation, trying several names on for size until we grew to hate them or feel lukewarm about them, we found the two names we liked and gave them both to her.
Rule #1 of naming: If you find a good name, you should absolutely use it.
One of our stumbling blocks was that three of the names we both liked a great deal (Charlotte, Olivia, Sophia) had become unfortunately popular. My sister-in-law even used one of them for her own child. We did not want our child carrying a faddish name that one could use to pinpoint the decade of her birth. A Jennifer or a Jessica or an Ashley. We wanted something unusual but not so unusual that it would become a burden to our daughter.
In the end, we failed. We chose "Juliet" and then we moved to Germany, where every time our daughter introduces herself she's fated to be greeted by a questioning, "Julia?"
Rule #2 of naming: Names mean different things to different people. You can't please everybody.
When it comes to naming stories, I'm no less particular. The perfect name has the right combination of mouthfeel, uniqueness, thematic resonance, and genre-appropriateness. I am violently allergic to the generic.
For my current novel, I spent a year working under a different title, one which fit thematically but never carried the punch I wanted. I changed the title last year to "Teach the Children to Pray." The novel is set during the Thirty Years War and the title comes from the children's song from the time:
Pray, children, pray
Tomorrow comes the Swede
Tomorrow comes Oxenstiern'
He will teach the children to pray
It also fits nicely to the themes I wanted to explore: the impact of war on the children who must grow up in the middle of it, and the impact of this particular war on the faith of those caught up in its violence. The Thirty Years War was the last great European war of religion. It was, like the Great War after it, supposed to be the end of warfare on a contintental scale. Like the Great War after it, it was not; people found other ideologies to replace religion as justification for large-scale murder and devastation, and they continued to believe, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that it is possible to achieve peace through war.
Of course, one of my beta readers asked me "What does the title have to do with the book?" I didn't change the name; I went back through the book and made sure the children's song was in there and that the themes came through loud and clear.
Rule #3 of naming: If it's not obvious why something is called something, make it obvious.
The we were creating the game June's Journey at Wooga, I had several favorite names for the game and the main character. None of them got picked. The name was arrived at through a series of surveys and focus tests about what people thought an attractive name for a game and a protagonist would be. People generally didn't care for the name June for a protagonist, but they loved the name June's Journey, so there you go.
I hated it. I still do. Apart from the character name, it has nothing to do with what the game is about or the type of game it is. The process was cynical, mathematical, and it deprived the team of creative agency.
But last I heard, the game has a couple million players every day, so that shows how much I know.
Rule #4 of naming: Sometimes you have to take your lumps and trust the marketing people.
All that said, for my sourdough starter, I'm sticking with "Legion."