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View Full Version : Pen name issue for contribution: can you advice?



Ton Lew Lepsnaci
12-13-2012, 11:43 PM
I'm contributing a piece on writing to an author's blog. I've considered a pen name in the past, but did not give it major thought as I'm not yet published. The only reason I'm considering a pen name is to gain a bit of breathing space between being published (should it happen) and dealing with mixing different worlds. It seems nice to have a choice on whether to talk about it or not and to be able to pick the situation in which to bring it up. Not a big deal, but still something to consider.

It seems sensible to use a pen name consistently, so the blog contribution brings the issue closer than anticipated.

Any advice from those who have used a pen name for similar purposes? Anyone who found it useful? Anyone who thinks it's too much hassle?

Tex_Maam
12-14-2012, 12:14 AM
Well, I've never tried to write under my own name, so I don't have much to compare it with, but so far I'm really liking the separation between Bruce Wayne and Batman.

It gives me some nice psychological distance (you know, to help remember that the person blow-torching my book is taking issue with the Batsuit, not me personally.) Plus, speaking as somebody who gets paid to shape fragile young minds, it is nice to be able to speak my mind online without having to administer smelling salts to Google-curious parents in the morning.

The only place where it's been tricky at all is when my two social spheres start to have contact. I've helped several of my local workshop buddies apply to work at my company, and sometimes I hang out in mixed groups of writer-buddies and regular friends, and it's a little peculiar to have to explain why I'm dual-wielding name tags.

But on the whole, it's been a fantastic way to make friends and fight crime, and it sounds like you have very little to lose by trying it out.

dangerousbill
12-14-2012, 01:04 AM
It seems sensible to use a pen name consistently, so the blog contribution brings the issue closer than anticipated.


http://www.erotica-readers.com/ERA/Archive12/WG-The_Art_and_Science_of_Pseudonyms.htm

veinglory
12-14-2012, 01:07 AM
I use a pen name to keep things tidy because I also write and speak on unrelated topics under my real name.

This does not mean I feel my employer has to be told about my fiction writing. I have told some and not others depending on their 'need to know'.

ChristinaLayton
12-14-2012, 01:19 AM
Christina Layton is the pen name I plan to use for my stories, and it's gonna be the same pen name for all my stories no matter the genre. If you don't want to write with your real name for any reason, use a pen name.

dangerousbill
12-14-2012, 01:57 AM
This does not mean I feel my employer has to be told about my fiction writing. I have told some and not others depending on their 'need to know'.

The fewer people you tell, the better.

You never know how an employer is going to react when you tell her/im that you're a writer. All of your friends will be looking at the stories and some will find themselves in it, whether you intended it or not. Your boss will, too.

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
12-14-2012, 02:40 AM
Thanks for the feedback!

backslashbaby
12-14-2012, 03:55 AM
I do it. Don't make too many, of course, because that would get very complicated :)

Remember that the separation may not be ironclad. Folks will be able to tie you to a pseudonym if they try hard, in most cases.

I'm not that concerned about someone knowing, but I take basic steps to make it a tad difficult. I tell people not to mention my username here along with my pen name if they know it, for example.

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
12-14-2012, 11:53 PM
What about bio's? Do you stick to writing-focused bio's and share nothing more personal? Never put a picture with your work? It seems you'd have to develop a bit of a split personality :) I am curious about the logistics.

backslashbaby
12-15-2012, 04:49 AM
What about bio's? Do you stick to writing-focused bio's and share nothing more personal? Never put a picture with your work? It seems you'd have to develop a bit of a split personality :) I am curious about the logistics.

I had to write a bio or two that were sneakily gender-neutral. I used the last name a lot instead of he or she, lol. I don't have that many writing credits, so my bio is mostly personal but not something that helps find my real name easily. I give the state I live in, if that.

Most things I do don't require pictures. Who knows what will happen if I ever have to do a reading :)

I kind of like the split personalities :D I get in certain frames of mind for each style of writing, anyway. My non-fiction and my stories sound nothing like me chatting here on the forum or in real life, but that's how I really am! I'm also serious-faced when I do math ;) I have different concentration paths, so the various works feel very compartmentalized naturally for me. I know that's a bit odd :ROFL:

dangerousbill
12-15-2012, 06:53 AM
What about bio's? Do you stick to writing-focused bio's and share nothing more personal? Never put a picture with your work? It seems you'd have to develop a bit of a split personality :) I am curious about the logistics.

I live in Arizona. I write three hours a day. I go rockhounding and do silversmithing with my wife of 46 years. I'm 70 years old and retired.

My pen name lives in the American Southwest. His age is nonspecific, as is that of his much younger wife, the dominatrix and Harley repairwoman. He studies Native American culture and explores the backroads along the Mexican border seeking lost silver mines.

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
12-16-2012, 03:04 AM
Interesting. I find it fascinating you keep up the distinction to that extent. Not sure what the best path is for me yet, but I definitely got straightforward answers. Many thanks (in the shape of rep pts)!

boozysassmouth
12-16-2012, 05:09 AM
I actually had a lot of these questions myself. Thanks Ton Lew Lepsnaci for starting the thread, and everyone else for your responses!
(http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=31773)