Name Theory: Katie Who?

It should come as no surprise that I read several baby naming blogs. I love names and naming, and my people post on those websites.

When you read a lot of naming articles like I do, you will notice many people complaining about others trying to force them to choose the name that person likes for their child. Their mothers want them to name the child after the boy she always wanted. Their in-laws want them to choose an ugly family name. Their great aunts who never had children of their own are convinced they know best the naming styles of today.

I didn’t exactly have this problem with my son, although I did, oddly, have several people suggesting what day I should give birth to him! (“July 16 is a good day; it’s my birthday!”)

While I suggest names to writers for their characters, I try not to force my favorites of the bunch on the writer or to constantly suggest my favorite names for characters. In fact, there are a few names that I never suggest because I have used them for my characters and don’t want every other writer to use them too.

Unfortunately, no matter how objective I try to be with my suggestions I am human and fallible and I, apparently, have secret favorites.

Like Katie. Or, more specifically Katie Scarlet or Katie some-other-middle-name.

The truth is, I didn’t suggest Katie to the writer of this week’s Character of the Week, I suggested Katie Scarlet. And this wasn’t the only time I suggested someone name their character after the Gone With the Wind character, either.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve noticed while writing this blog that I suggested that name several times to people. The only reason I can come up with is that I like the idea of a double name said in brogue (I always think of Mr. O’Hara calling her “Katie Scarlet”) and I am subconsciously reminded of this whenever I see the name Katie in the popularity lists on the Social Security Administration’s Baby Names website (a major source of inspiration for me in my process).

I never knew I liked the name so much to even break one of my lesser naming rules, Don’t name your character after a famous character because the comparison is going to work against your character.

Frankly, I’ve never considered naming one of my characters Katie Scarlett or Katie anything. Somewhere deep inside me, though, the name is calling to come out. Maybe I need to get a cat and give her that name just to get it out there.

So there you go, fine readers. While I generally consider myself to be a good namer I do have my faults. And if I ever suggested you name your character Katie something-or-other I am truly sorry for my lax judgment.

It is easy to see the faults in others’ character names and their weird naming obsessions (why was every friend in the book I was just reading named a J name?), but it is hard to see the faults in one’s self.


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