Slice of [my] Life

a writer's piece of the pie

the Nature of Pen Names


The pen name: A writer’s best friend (and source of anxiety).

This has been a big one for me for several months. I’m trying to come up with a pen name that a) suits my personality, and b) suits my genre. Oh—and then there is always c) doesn’t sound made up.

It isn’t easy.

It isn’t fun.

I do not enjoy it.

Ask me to come up with a character name. Ask me to come up with a baby name. Ask me to name your new retriever. Do not ask me to rename myself. How should I know what “fits” me? It isn’t like I really know myself, right? I mean, give me a character bio and I can tell you the perfect name to go with ‘em.

The name helps to shape the character, right? You don’t ever see Tom as a murder mystery, serial killer? Not exactly. Ted, sure; Tom, not so much. In fiction, the bad guy always has a somewhat-bad-guy-name. Cyrus the Virus from Con-Air, Sylar from Heroes, Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter, Hannibal freaking Lecter from *duh* Hannibal!

And the good guys have good-guy-names (or normal names, depending on the genre). Harry Potter, Clark Kent, Jack Bauer, James Bond, Alex Cross, Sarah Connor, Selene (Underworld), Alice (Resident Evil)… Basically, nothing decidedly evil.

So does the same thing apply to people? Could I be, let’s say, Emily? Tess? Diane? Samantha? Nikki? Madison? Tracy? Faith? Elaine? Rachel?

No, no I can’t. Why? Because I’m not those people.

So basically, finding a good pen name to transfer on over to has been… a challenge. Unfortunately it’s one I have to face (and, hopefully, overcome). See, I work at an elementary school and it would be just plain awkward if one of my students, or even their parents, ran a little google search on me and got a direct link to a steamy blogfest entry. Yeah… creeptastic, I know. So it’s mucho important for me to get my pen name up and running. The problem—it’s not working.

My plan is to have a “general pen name” for the blog, the facebook, the writing world stuff. This pen name would go with my paranormal romance and urban fantasy stuff. But I’d also like to have a separate one for my contemporary/romantic suspense stuff. I can hold off on the 2nd name—no biggie there—but I need that first one.

Progress to come… wish me luck.


September 4, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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