1. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    Pen names and other aliases

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CapnNogrow, Jan 24, 2014.

    What do you think of writers using pen names? Do any of you use a pen name? Would you consider using a pen name? I know of a few famous writers that uses pen names.

    I think the most famous one is Anne Rice, her real name is Howard Allen Frances O'Brien. She also uses A.N. Roquelaure for her Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, erotic BDSM novels set in a fantasy world. In which a fourth book is in the works apparently.

    Also the fantastic Agatha Christie had a pen name, Mary Westmacott. She wrote a series of romance novels under that name.

    Of course we have Benjamin Franklin writing letters to the newspaper under the name Mrs. Silence Dogood. If he qualifies that is.

    That's all I know without the use of Google.
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Anne Rice is a dude?

    Also, my name is rather foreign to most Americans. Heck, even spelling it can be a hassle and I find it doesn't flow well.
    I, personally, would like to maybe find a name I could write under that flows more naturally or is simple/catchier.

    What is the use of pen names if the internet exists?
    Seems like we know who's hiding behind them, these days.
     
  3. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    Anne Rice a dude? What? Talking about the name Howard? Probably after her father, don't you think?
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    ... They named their daughter Howard?
    A middle name, sure. Howarda, okay, but Howard?
     
  5. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    Look it up on wikipedia. Her father was Howard, her mother's middle name was Allen. Given name: Frances, Last name: O'Brien. I assume. Makes sense to me :)
     
  6. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't really see the point of it.

    My last name isn't easy for some people to spell or pronounce, but it's a part of me and that's that.
     
  7. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    Hey, my last name is Swedish and sounds retarded when English speakers pronounce it.
     
  8. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @CapnNogrow no offense to English-speakers, but there are so many things that sound retarded when they (try to) pronounce it. Latin is my favorite - for some reason, anglophones seem incapable of talking Latin without an obvious and ugly accent... :D

    Pen names? If you have a reason to use it - why not? My absolute favorite is Iain Banks, how goes by the pen name "Iain M. Banks" when publishing science fiction. :D
     
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  9. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Just like 'Take-os with Ja-lap-no peppers'.

    I'm considering using a made up name that's easier to pronounce and remember.
    Not cause I'm ashamed of my name or nothing but I'd be proud to have my author-self named in gold letters across the spine ^.^
     
  10. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't even pronounce my surname correctly, according to Dad.

    It's become kinda anglicised over time, as so many names do.

    There's some interesting names in the family though. I love my Italian side's surname, which basically means 'piglets'. How nice is that?
     
  11. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There could be many reasons to use a pen name, like if you have a name that is difficult to pronounce or spell in English. However, I think that one of the more practical reasons for using a pen name is if you decide to suddenly write a book in a different genre than your previous published works.
    For example, imagine that you have written six big fantasy books, full of trolls, magic and sky islands. You release a new book and all your fans buy it, anticipating a well-crafted tale of might and magic. Then they realise it is some kind of relationship drama set in a 40 square meter flat in a boring old town.
    If you write books in a certain genre you will be associated with that genre and the readers will have certain expectations from your books. Therefore you might want to use a pen name when writing in another genre, maintaining the readers' trust in you. If I walk into a book store and by a book by Clive Barker just to come home and realise that it is not an epic fantasy book I'd be seriously disappointed.
    You mentioned Agatha Christie. I believe she took on a pen name when writing romance instead of crime because she was already known as a crime author and did not want to ruin that image.

    My personal opinion is that if a writer wishes to use a pen name then it is their choice. I'm sure there is a reason behind it and I don't care what that reason is. I have considered it myself but I'll most likely only use one if I end up in the situation I described above.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
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  12. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Since I write with my hubby, @T.Trian, we felt it'd be easier to have just one pen name. But that's the case at the moment, of course later we could come up with some random names and have them both on the cover as it's not unheard of for writers to write a novel together and have both names on the cover, even couples have done that (e.g. David and Leigh Eddings). One clever user here actually thought my real name is Kate Ryan, I'm just using a pen name K. Trian. How cool is that? :D Now I wish I was called Kate Ryan... Though the reason why my user name here isn't just K. Trian is that people would get confused, so maybe the extra 'a' helps a bit, plus it spells my real name, too.

    In any case, choosing or not choosing a pen name at this stage isn't relevant yet. Our WIP is written, and once we're done with the umpteenth revisions and edits, we'll send it away and then, if, by God, someone turned out to be interested, we can discuss pen names again. It might be necessary though, as our real surname has a bit too many syllables for an anglophone, not that it's Greek or anything, nor Finnish, but still.
     
  13. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I go by the pseudonym AJ Connor which is short for Alesia Jean Connor, the name of my main character in one of the first short stories I wrote. My real name is Michael, and I'm actually a dude :D This name came about from the fact that 90% of my stories, as well as my blog and full length MS are based on actual events from my life. To protect myself from family/friend retribution and possible criminal prosecution, I created not only a pen name, but an entire persona with an altered name, place/date of birth, family names, gender, occupation, and so on.
     
  14. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I plan to use a pen name, because I want to keep my professional job and my writing separate. If someone Google's my name when I'm looking for a computer position, I don't want my books to pop up first.
     
  15. Cailinfios
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    Cailinfios Member

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    I'm considering using a pen name, not because I do't like my real name, but for several reasons
    1- My last name is Smith. So. Boring. I want something a little more memorable?
    2- My name is rather long. I want something short and snappy with a nice ring to it.
    3- I'll most likely get married, and then my last name will change! So a pen name is easier...
    I wont keep the fact that it's a pen name a secret, and I'll even have a photo of me, so I suppose that ruins the original "point" of a pen name, but w/e
    I haven't made the decision yet tho, and tbh if I did decide to go for a pen name I have no idea what I'd use! When I was a kid I wanted my pen name to be Shirly Oakwood, hehe.
    Luckily I haven't even written anything I want to publish yet, so I dont need to worry about it yet...

    Fun game I used to play as a kid with my friends: Take the name of the first pet you ever owned and your mother's maiden name. Thats your pen name! Using that, I'd be Pamela Cotton.
     
  16. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Thank God I didn't pick my name like that. I'd be Pinkie Maxey. o_O
     
  17. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I'd be Duke Hardgrave. If I ever wrote Westerns, that might work.
     
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  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    in my old writing life, I used a couple of pen names... one for my x-rated short stories, another for novels I didn't want tarred with the 'female author' brush, as they were not intended only for the 'women's market'...

    in this life, 'maia' is my 'meant' name and I've been known to all I've met and dealt with, by only this name for nearly 20 years, though I still have to use my legal one for travel, ss, and banking purposes... even my children, grandchildren and sister use only my 'meant' name now...
     
  19. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Um...Pirate Jones, anyone?
     
  20. Wild Knight
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    Wild Knight Active Member

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    Hmmm... Cleopatra Clay I. COOL!!! My parents may have picked the name, but very much emotionally, she was MY first pet. Could be worse. :) Cleopatra Clay I.
     
  21. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Miro Rosvall? Could work if it is said with some strange pronunciation.
    Though I'd prefer our latest male cat's name, since then my pen name would be Mozart. :cool:
     
  22. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Alesia Mike, you are aware pen-name is not going to be of any help to you if it comes down to an actual law suit? :)
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Might help a bit in a defamation suit. Won't be any use in the event of a criminal prosecution.
     
  24. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I would hope the statute of limitations has passed on anything I could face criminal prosecution for. :D

    In any case, AJ Connor goes far beyond a pen name. She is an actual phony person with her own IP address not registered to me, email, etc... I'm sure a tech savvy person could track me down, but your run of the mill reader is left thinking Alesia Connor is an actual person. Also, the events contained in my stories, people, locations, and so on have been changed to a point where it would take a pretty keen eye to spot the fact that it is me behind it - which most of the people involved don't have. Several of them (seven to be exact) are deceased, two are incarcerated, and the others -aside from a handful - either can't or don't read, so I'm not too concerned about defamation suits.

    Another step I took was to consult with a libel attorney who owed me a favor. Through that, I have a general idea of what stories I should/shouldn't tell, and how to print them in such a way that my ass is covered.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
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  25. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Ha! Playing this game I'd sound like a cheap erotica author
    Frisky Victoria. Lol.
     
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