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What’s in a name?

Tricky things, names. Particularly when there are male and female versions of the same name.

Now, Francis and Frances are fairly easy. A Francis explained to me the easy way to remember is ‘hIs’ and ‘hErs’. That seems to work and I’m indebted to him—although there was a time when I might have thought I was indebted to her.

What about Leslie and Lesley? By convention—not always followed these days—IE is a boy and EY is a girl…but as has been pointed out to me IE looks more feminine and EY looks like it might be a family name rather than a first name.

In my new book—a collection of sci-fi short stories—there are two characters whose names I am having trouble with, Franny and Ziggy. Franny is short for nothing, her name is Franny and I’ve followed convention. I have to say that Frannie would look more feminine but then there is a name used in South Africa—Fannie—which is a boy’s name. I think I’ve got that right, my various SA readers will soon put me straight if I haven’t.

Ziggy is a bit problematic. The reader (of the book) will know that the male-person’s full name is Sigmund so Ziggy with a Y or an IE will not confuse however, if I’m going to follow convention then it really ought to be Ziggie—which I don’t think looks right.


So, dear readers—with an ‘S’ because I happen to know that there are more than one of you—so should that be ‘one of youse’? Bugger, I’m confused now and for a moment I thought I was doing so well. Where was I? Oh yes, I was going to ask you—or youse—what you/se thought? Damn, this is like some sort of virus, once one starts on it, one cannot cease or desist. The spell-checker has thrown a wobbly and gone ape-shit as well. Or should that be thrown a wobblie—do spell-checkers have a sex? Not sex, A sex. Perhaps I should have used the word gender. And that’s a frightening thought—if all the spell-checkers in the world did have sex then perhaps they would breed a more advanced version of themselves or, more likely, there would be teenage spell-checkers having ‘issues’ and not agreeing with their parents on principle. Actually, that sounds a bit like my spell-checker—it certainly seems to have issues with my spelling, at any rate. I wonder if Wikipedia would appreciate an entry on this subject?


Enough! Back to the male/female version of the same name. What are your thoughts and more specifically, would YOU prefer to see Franny with an IE and what about Ziggy?


The actual writing of the short stories is proving to be quite fun. The ‘long’ short story has been written—at least the first draft is with a faithful beta reader as is the first of the ‘short’ short stories. The main problem is coming up with ideas. The theme of the book is going to be/is how might all the technology we now take for granted– and some stuff which is still on the drawing boards—effect our lives. Not in the most obvious ways but in more subtle ways. You’ll have to read the book to see what I’m getting at. With luck and a touch more perseverance and application and a touch less beer, it should be available the end of this month or early March.

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