1. sierraromeobravo
    Offline

    sierraromeobravo Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2013
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia

    Pen names? Thoughts on the subject?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sierraromeobravo, May 14, 2013.

    Some of my favorite author's have used pen names and I have often thought about it myself. I am unfortunately cursed with not only a common name but the same name as many authors.

    My questions are:
    1. Do you use a pen name?
    2. If so, what is it?
    3. Do you use a variation of your name or try something completely different?

    Just some examples I know off hand:

    George orwell = Eric Arthur Blair
    J.K. Rowling = Joanna Rowling
    Lewis Carroll = Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
    Mark Twain = Samuel Langhorne Clemens
    Orson Scott Card = Ken Krogue
     
  2. TerraIncognita
    Offline

    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Texas

    For one of the blogs I run, yes I do. It gives me more freedom to speak my mind on sensitive topics without having to worry about the larger issues internet anonymity brings about. I stand by everything I say it's not that I can't stand by my words. It's more like having armor to deal with the flamers, trolls, and various nuts the internet has to offer. If they have no way of finding my actual name it makes it easier for me to avoid being harassed if I tick someone off. Speaking your mind on the internet is completely different from speaking your mind in person. In person you can walk away. On the internet people have 24/7 access to you.

    I can't say or there'd be no point to me using it.

    I used something completely different. My last name is extremely common.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I haven't decided on this matter yet. So I'm interested in the thread but don't have much to contribute. I did sign up on Goodreads with my real name incase I decide to use it.

    My son has no problem with Net anonymity. He has email and Facebook all in his real name. I think it's a generation thing.
     
  4. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,728
    Likes Received:
    4,826
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    When (if?) I'm published, I'll use a pen name. The reason is that my real name is difficult for most people to spell or pronounce. Obviously, from a marketing perspective, I have to have a name people can search on Amazon, etc., so I'll use a pen name.
     
  5. Dean Blake
    Offline

    Dean Blake Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Australia


    I agree. Pen names let you do that. Charles Bukowski is another example - his stories were autobiographical but he used the name Henry Chinaski.
     
  6. squishytheduck
    Offline

    squishytheduck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I actually use my legal name, which I never use except on government documents. It sounds super foreign, which throws people. That amuses me.
     
  7. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    I don't think I'll ever use a pen name. My name is easy enough to pronounce/spell, and unless I'm writing erotica or something like that, I have no reason not to use my real name.
     
  8. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    1. Yes.
    2. T. K. Trian
    3. It's a combination of my name and my husband's name because we write together. Not sure if we'll use it if we get published (something else than self-pub), but right now it's shorter. Our surnames are quite weird as well as difficult to remember, but we do mention them in our blog 'cause there's really no need for us to hide who we are.
     
  9. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah, but Henry Chinaski was not his pen name. It was the name of the character version of Bukowski. Just like Jack Kerouac used Sal Paradise as the name for the character 'playing' him.
     
  10. suddenly BANSHEES
    Offline

    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I use pseudonyms for everything. I don't like my real name, so I go by a nickname in real life, and there are a few different names I use online because I don't want anyone to be able to find me. Not that anyone would have any reason to, but still.

    If I were to be published, I'd want to use a pen name, but I'm not sure what it would be. Something that sounds nothing like my real name. That way, if it becomes famous for being the most awful piece of garbage to ever be published, I'll still be able to show my face in public :p
     
  11. mg357
    Offline

    mg357 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    33
    i use a pen name its combination of my gender the last two digits of the year i was born and it mentions a piece of equipment that i use everyday.
     
  12. Anthony Martin
    Offline

    Anthony Martin Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    San Diego
    Yes, I do. Anthony Martin, which is a variation of my full name.

    I choose to write under a pseudonym for similar reasons. Anonymity is certainly not one of them.
     
  13. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    in my 'old life' i used 2 pen names... one for the x-rated short stories i wrote and another for 'adventure' and 'crime' novels that i didn't want to be immediately id'd as being by a woman, since back then [80s-90s] that was a more major drawback for a novelist than it is today... though i suspect it still exists today to some extent...
     
  14. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    I used to use a pen name. I write erotica, so I wanted something that people wouldn't associate me (failed when a proud ex decided he wanted to show everyone an anthology I was included in). Now I don't care. I'm credited in radio/film/articles by my real name, so I've decided to revert back to it for my fiction writing too. By 'real name' I'm referring to a name I chose for myself at age 18, rather than the name my parents gave me.
     
  15. Nee
    Offline

    Nee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    23
    I write under three names. Mostly because I have three distinct writing styles (though as time goes on I'm having to force to keep them separate--I may give in and let them merge) and there are already people using my name in the fields of my expertise so I'm pretty much stuck with the need to use pseudonyms.
     
  16. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    When I publish, I'll use a pen name because my real name sounds the hybrid offspring of two romance authors. It would be an excellent
    name if I wrote romance but since I don't, I don't want to create any confusion in a reader.

    It would be like reaching for a horror by an author named Candy Lovelace - no matter how edgey the font - could that name ever
    scream horror?
     
  17. Mithrandir
    Offline

    Mithrandir Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    In the general vicinity of the Atlantic Ocean
    I'm considering it. My name is long, foreign, and hard to pronouce.
     
  18. inkyliddlefingers
    Offline

    inkyliddlefingers Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Wet, windy Wales.
    I want to, but can never decide on what. I want something amazing and non-gender specific.

    I write children's novels and I think the coolest name I've heard for years is Lemony Snickett.

    I aspire to choosing something like this but so far it alludes me...
     
  19. ChaosReigns
    Offline

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
    1. Do you use a pen name?
    Yes, because i find my writing flows if i assume another name/identity

    2. If so, what is it?
    Lupa Xenon, i was told this was to cheesy, but this is a natural occurance, cause like some others, i used this name for a character, who was very much based off myself, who now wont see the light of day because she has no place in any of my work

    3. Do you use a variation of your name or try something completely different?
    the only similarity is that my first name begins with L like this one, thats the only one, other than that...
     
  20. TheDistantShip
    Offline

    TheDistantShip Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, Mainly because my pen name is more in line with my personality. Plus my real name sounds horribly stereotypical and its only saving grace is that I didn't pick it for myself.
     
  21. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    That's actually pretty interesting. Why do you think that is? Does it, like, remove some mental blocks to write under "a new identity?"
     
  22. ChaosReigns
    Offline

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
    in a sense yes, normally im not really a wordy person, some can see i write, but assume its only shorter works, not the longer kind which i find come out better under the "new identity" i see it as we all have varying sides to who we are, most take up the name that we get given, some, like myself (and probably other writers) have a side that assumes another name which you only find through pen and paper (in my case).

    i know it sounds a bit schizo, but arent we all schizo to a certain degree?
     
  23. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    Writers must be, we constantly assume new identities in the form of our characters. :D

    I think I'd like to use my real name at some point though -- of course I use it if I write on my own. My identity is tied quite strongly to it, weird, but I could never imagine changing my first name (hint, it's in my user name, oo how clevah). In my case it'd feel like an insult against my dad who picked it. Long story. But it feels like whatever pen name I choose, it won't feel as "mine" as the birth name. But I do understand the reasons behind picking one, or changing one's name altogether. I'm gonna have to change a couple of letters in my surname at some point anyhow.
     
  24. ChaosReigns
    Offline

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom

    i may at somepoint do the same, but it will most likely be with more factual pieces (and apparantly im intelligent, pfft i say, its experience)
     
  25. RHK
    Offline

    RHK Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cideracopious
    I've thought about using a pen name. My own legal name is quite individual already, but the problem is that hardly anyone can pronounce either my first name or last name correctly. (Though I joke from time to time that if I were famous, people might actually bother to learn how to pronounce my last name, and thus I'd be doing my family a favour.) I dunno though, maybe a last name that looks a bit alien to English eyes would be a positive bonus for an aspiring SF writer? >not convinced<

    But I do kind of like the idea of writing with a pen name: a certain amount of anonymity would be liberating as I'm very conscious of censoring myself sometimes, which is incredibly annoying.
    I already know what name I'd use: it is a combination of the name my mum 'almost' gave to me and the name of a city that I have been in love with for years but have yet to visit. ;)
     

Share This Page