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View Full Version : So...how'd you pick a pen name?



Twizzle
10-17-2007, 08:35 PM
I'm stumped.

I got another story acceptance today (:snoopy:) but after much thought, I'm going to use a pen name in this genre. So I'm sitting here, staring at the contract, and can I think of one?!?

ah, no.

For those with pen names--how'd you pick one?

Any ideas, suggestions, help? I'm at a total loss.

Sunkissed27f
10-17-2007, 08:52 PM
It was my horses name.
I come up with some crazy names........it's all up to you really!!

A. Hamilton
10-17-2007, 08:55 PM
I played with the letters of my maiden name-came up with Peyton H. Delarran, googled it and got nothing-then shortened it to just the initials because I like the way it reads.

Claudia Gray
10-17-2007, 09:07 PM
I wanted an unusual, slightly more "vintage"-sounding first name. I've always been a fan of the book/miniseries I, Claudius, so I went for Claudia. Then it was a matter of finding a last name that would work with that. I knew I wanted that name to start with a letter that wasn't at the extreme end of either alphabet, and I thought something short would be right.

Eventually I came up with Claudia Lake. Some googling suggested that would be okay, and we were about to go with that until I thought, Hmm, let me try one more thing. Then I googled "Claudia Lake" and "vampire." Turns out that's the name of the Vampire Lestat fan club president.

Gray emerged as the next best candidate. Originally I had a character in the book with the last name Gray, but I stole it and gave him another!

I'm pretty happy with it overall.

DeleyanLee
10-17-2007, 09:26 PM
I decide depending on what genre I'm writing for.

When I wrote Romance, I went for a decidedly feminine name and geared more for Contemporary or Historical or Erotic. Since I'm not writing Romance anymore, I won't be using them. LOL!

Now that I've turned back to Fantasy, I chose Deleyan from an old persona character of mine because I really like the name (and I'll answer to it, even after a decade) and kept the surname short and "Lee" just plain sounded good.

When coming up with a pen name for the collaboration I'm in, we used names of beloved dead relatives and worked them together to form something that sounded good to both of us. But, again, depending on if we're writing Erotic Romance or Fantasy--we have two different names, even for the collaborations.

Pretty much picking a pen name is like naming a character to my experience--but pick something you're likely to answer to if someone calls you by it, because it could happen. ;-)

WittyandorIronic
10-17-2007, 09:26 PM
Not published, but if I were to choose a pen name it would be Ellie Peterson (no you can't have it)
My first and middle initials are L.E., and I kept my maiden name after I married for career reasons, so I would choose my husband's last name for my pen name.
On a side note, I also think my real name is spelled oddly, both first and last name, and would not be a good author name. So I would probably use Ellie Peterson before it.

jennifer75
10-17-2007, 09:28 PM
I'll combine my grandmothers first names to form my pen name, if I ever decide to go that route.

Jamesaritchie
10-17-2007, 09:35 PM
Pseudonyms must have a personal meaning to me. I use several, and all have something personal about them. One is my family's original surname from a few centuries back. Another is a combination of my name and the name of someone I love dearly. Another is the combination of names from childhood friends. There are a couple of others, chosen the same way.

And a pseudonym I've used only once, and just to see if anyone noticed how I came up with it, which no one ever did that I know of, is Mase J. Chirite. I may well use this one again someday.

Azraelsbane
10-17-2007, 09:44 PM
Came up with mine way back in 3rd grade and it just stuck (not that I've published anything, so I guess it's just stuck in my mind). I always wished my name was Elizabeth when I was younger. LeAnn is a crap name; I could never find it on keychains. Anne I ripped off from my name, kinda. And I really love the last name Blackwell. The end product: E.A. Blackwell.

Soccer Mom
10-17-2007, 09:44 PM
Because of my profession, my naughtier or more bloodthirsty stories get a pseudonym. It's a simple one: My real first name (which isn't distinctive) and my mother's maiden name.

Tymolee
10-17-2007, 09:52 PM
My psuedonym is my son's first name as my last name (Thomas - a common enough surname) and a first name I've always liked. I googled it, nothing popped up, checked out a couple of variations on it, and settled on it. I also bought the domain name, just in case. It's the psuedonym I use regularly now.... it took me months to decide that's the one I want to use. But I'm horribly indecisive.

Twizzle
10-17-2007, 10:44 PM
And a pseudonym I've used only once, and just to see if anyone noticed how I came up with it, which no one ever did that I know of, is Mase J. Chirite. I may well use this one again someday.

good one. :tongue

Twizzle
10-17-2007, 10:48 PM
LeAnn is a crap name; I could never find it on keychains.

Yeah. I could never find Kelley, either. Not with an "ey." Esp bike lic plates. I really, really wanted one of those. It bit, big time. And then of course, my mom said she'd named me after this guy she'd always had a crush on in high school. A guy named Kelley.

Poor guy. Bet he could never find keychains, either. :Shrug:

So, okay. It seems most people picked something with a personal connection?

ORION
10-17-2007, 11:05 PM
My agent and editor got together and made suggestions (my real name is hyphenated and too long)

seven41
10-18-2007, 12:19 AM
My name was already used by the guy who wrote Harm's Way, so I just reversed it and call myself Bassett James.

Kudra
10-18-2007, 12:41 AM
Kudra is a name that stuck with me because she's one of my favorite characters (rep points for guessing book and author). Kudra isn't my pseudonym, but if I ever have to go for one, this might be it.

Maybe try a few combinations from names and surnames from characters you remember? Or names you've liked a lot.

OR

Baby names book?

OR

Some grandparent/distant relative name?

OR

I'll go think up more suggestions...

ChaosTitan
10-18-2007, 07:03 AM
I don't know if I'll ever have the need for a pen name, but I've got one picked out. I decided to use the first names of my grandparents (paternal and maternal). It gives me Anne Marie Arwood.

Anne and Marie are the names of my grandmothers. Ar- comes from Arthur, one grandfather. -wood is from Elwood, my other grandfather.

I like it. :D

Soccer Mom
10-18-2007, 07:10 AM
Kudra is a name that stuck with me because she's one of my favorite characters (rep points for guessing book and author). Kudra isn't my pseudonym, but if I ever have to go for one, this might be it.




Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins. :D

OmenSpirits.com
10-18-2007, 07:15 AM
First name of a favorite character I created, last name mother's maiden name.

Second pen name: I was aiming for a pulp fiction-type name like Dirk Daring or the like.

Out came Dash Courageous. :)

DamaNegra
10-18-2007, 08:14 AM
As a pen name, I'd use the name my parents were going to give me if I'd been a boy. Simple.

Ava Jarvis
10-18-2007, 08:36 AM
I took my favorite character and, effectively, thesaurized the first and last name.

I don't have anything published, but I would publish under that if I could.

I managed to keep the initials the same too!

Twizzle
10-18-2007, 03:31 PM
wow. this is great. thank you. so I checked out baby names, had to nix the pilfering from the pets (Winky. Sir. Twinkle. not so much) and tried scrambling. Hubby came up with Lesley Wank. :Wha: Again, not so much. Then everyone related to me stated if I so much as dared take theirs they'd hurt me. So, I spent the night thumbing through one of my favorite author's books, and I think, maybe, I might have found something. at least a first name. argh.

I'm telling you, writing a novel is hands down easier than this.

jodiodi
10-18-2007, 05:42 PM
Pets' first names, family-related last names.

DonnaDuck
10-18-2007, 06:22 PM
Pets' names? Nicki, Lynzee, Malfoy, Boo Boo, Boone...I could either be a cheerleader, copyright infringement, a stripper or a woodsman...for me, that'd just be a no.

I've considered a pseudonym mainly because my last name is very rare and anyone with it I'm related to, which is not many in this country or Italy for that matter. My legal name is also hyphenated and 22 letters long. I don't use the hyphened part and when I sign my name I alrady chop off the last 5 letters of my last. So I always considered taking a family name, a very common Italian surname and just keeping my first name but I guess it depends on what I write although my last name is very writing-appropriate.

Azraelsbane
10-18-2007, 06:26 PM
Yeah. I could never find Kelley, either. Not with an "ey." Esp bike lic plates. I really, really wanted one of those. It bit, big time. And then of course, my mom said she'd named me after this guy she'd always had a crush on in high school. A guy named Kelley.

Poor guy. Bet he could never find keychains, either. :Shrug:

So, okay. It seems most people picked something with a personal connection?

I have a guy friend named Kelley. You wouldn't believe how many idiots at stores give him crap about forging ID.

Of course, at one point in time I thought I would save my child the trouble and make sure the kid had a normal keychain/bikeplate name, but then I married someone with my favorite guy's name and I am not going through the phone Hell that is, "Which Michael did you want to talk to?" So I've changed my stance to vengeful. If we have a son, his name will be Azrael. I seriously doubt the boy is going to find a keychain at Disney with his name on it. ;)

benbradley
10-18-2007, 06:32 PM
For nano, I took the name of a President. FWIW, I'm neither a Ford nor a Lincoln.

RickN
10-18-2007, 06:46 PM
It was my horses name.

"Now the latest from famed mystery writer Trigger S. Secretariat..."

WittyandorIronic
10-18-2007, 07:15 PM
lol. that is kind of what I thought of too Rick.

Twizzle
10-18-2007, 10:10 PM
I have a guy friend named Kelley. You wouldn't believe how many idiots at stores give him crap about forging ID.

Of course, at one point in time I thought I would save my child the trouble and make sure the kid had a normal keychain/bikeplate name, but then I married someone with my favorite guy's name and I am not going through the phone Hell that is, "Which Michael did you want to talk to?" So I've changed my stance to vengeful. If we have a son, his name will be Azrael. I seriously doubt the boy is going to find a keychain at Disney with his name on it. ;)


Go ahead. Try it. That's exactly what we did. Then a year ago, when he was 7, my son came to us and said we'd screwed up. He was supposed to be a BOB. And he was no longer going to answer to the name we gave him. The lil bugger meant it, too. It's been over a year and he'll only answer to BOB and has insisted everyone, including school call him that.


See? I can't even name a kid right. Forget myself. :cry:

Twizzle
10-18-2007, 10:12 PM
Pets' names? Nicki, Lynzee, Malfoy, Boo Boo, Boone...I could either be a cheerleader, copyright infringement, a stripper or a woodsman...for me, that'd just be a no.



Yeah. I hear ya. I could be Twinkles Wank, the pole dancer. sigh...

Azraelsbane
10-18-2007, 10:37 PM
Go ahead. Try it. That's exactly what we did. Then a year ago, when he was 7, my son came to us and said we'd screwed up. He was supposed to be a BOB. And he was no longer going to answer to the name we gave him. The lil bugger meant it, too. It's been over a year and he'll only answer to BOB and has insisted everyone, including school call him that.


See? I can't even name a kid right. Forget myself. :cry:

LOL. See, that's something I won't stand for. That's when I'll insist on my I am parent, hear me roar status. My husband can't wait until we have a little boy so he can call him Azzy. He can call him that if he wants, fine, but I'm calling him by his given name. And if he wants to be called something later? That's fine. His choice, obviously, but I will continue to call him by his given name. If he ignores me when I call his name, I will ignore him when he asks for allowance or field trip money or dessert. I'm going to make a very mean mother. ;)

Carrie R.
10-18-2007, 10:46 PM
The other thing I'd consider when choosing a pen name is whether the domain name is available. Thankfully, I bought my name a long time ago, but if I were choosing a name today that'd be a top priority.

Oh, and when I was writing historical romance (never pubbed) I was going to use my first name and middle name: Caroline Hancock.

Azraelsbane
10-18-2007, 10:48 PM
The other thing I'd consider when choosing a pen name is whether the domain name is available. Thankfully, I bought my name a long time ago, but if I were choosing a name today that'd be a top priority.

Oh, and when I was writing historical romance (never pubbed) I was going to use my first name and middle name: Caroline Hancock.

I bought mine too. :) Not published yet *sigh* but it's mine.

Twizzle
10-19-2007, 03:06 PM
oh, shoot. Thx Carrie. I NEVER thought of that. I've bought my real name's domain. But dang. Okay, something else to consider. I hope there's nothing else I'm forgetting???

Azraelsbane-Azzy's a cute nickname, I like that. You're right, I should have been the mean one, but I tell ya, I thought he was joking. I mean, plain ole Bob? After we'd named him such a great and unique name?!!? (he'd be rolling his eyes at that one :) ) I figured it was a passing phase. Hah. And double hah.

okay. so now I go check domain names. thanks everyone. sigh...

Thrillride
10-20-2007, 07:25 AM
I have been known (infamously..hehe) on other boards by one of my horse's names.

But I decided to stay close to my own when it came to a pen name. I am using the shortened version of my real name - Chris and a shortened version of my married last name - Mac. I like the way it works together and I also like that at first, readers won't know if I am male or female (not that it matters - but then, that's the point).

I am also hoping the last name, Mac, may stand out a bit for editors rejection after rejection so at least they will recognize my name when it passes yet again across their desks! LOL!

~Thrill

Shweta
10-20-2007, 11:22 AM
I don't know if I'll ever have the need for a pen name, but I've got one picked out. I decided to use the first names of my grandparents (paternal and maternal). It gives me Anne Marie Arwood.

Anne and Marie are the names of my grandmothers. Ar- comes from Arthur, one grandfather. -wood is from Elwood, my other grandfather.

I like it. :D


If I did this I'd end up as Meenakshi Saraswati Ramayan :D

ETA: Actually, I lie; It'd be Meenakshi Saraswati Ramaraman.

Which is so much simpler and easier to spell than Shweta Narayan, right?

sandyn
10-20-2007, 10:19 PM
If I used the first two initials in all four of my grandparents names, I could scramble them to become:

OPAL FRED

Errr...

Judg
10-21-2007, 03:10 AM
Well, I'm not published, so it's strictly academic. Judg come from my initials, so I have considered names that mean "judge" in other languages. Daniel Richter, for example, covers the bases in Hebrew and German. Easily feminized to Danielle. So can you make any kind of pun based on your name? Translate it?

You could also use closely related names. John/Jean/Joan/Ian Christopher/Christine/Crystal/Cristobal

Invert first and last names if possible and adjust as necessary.

A last name that would put you beside a best-selling author in your genre is good for obvious reasons.

For me, my maiden name is worthy of consideration. Short (only five letters) and unusual without being difficult. But it's near the end of the alphabet, which can be a downer.

My married name is long and hard to pronounce and spell, so I probably will not use it.

Shweta
10-21-2007, 06:20 AM
If I used the first two initials in all four of my grandparents names, I could scramble them to become:

OPAL FRED

Errr...

Or LEAF DROP.

Kryianna
10-22-2007, 06:50 AM
I love my name, and really hope that I can use it when I publish. Unfortunately, someone already is using a hyphenated version of it (Jane Doe-Smith), so I'm thinking my odds are slim. Her book just got published this year, and is in the same genre.

My maiden name is too difficult to spell. I figure if it was annoying for me in school, people will have problems with it in the bookstore.

I'll probably go with a pen name of one grandmother's first name combined with the other grandmother's last name. The only problem would be that I don't want to tell my parents about my writing, so we'll see if I get disowned. :)

Shadow_Ferret
10-22-2007, 11:17 PM
I didn't have to pick my pen name.

It already had a name.

Parker.

I wonder if it's related to Peter.

MidnightMuse
10-22-2007, 11:24 PM
My pen's name is Uniball, but I don't think I'll use it :)

I considered using a pen name once, I'm not sure why, it just seemed like it would be a good idea to hide my gender, seeing as how I write SF with male MC's - but there are plenty of female SF writers, so that's moot.

Mainly the reason I won't use one when I hit the big time is the fact that my father never had any sons, so there's no one to pass on his name. It's a common name, about as common as you can get, but it's also his name, and I want to do something he'd be proud of. And I know getting published would have made him beam with pride.

So I'm using my name no matter what I publish, to honor my daddy.

Project nachonaco
10-23-2007, 03:17 AM
Japanese phonetic. My first, middle, and last names are all translatable.

-Shiidonii Rei

(Shiidonii = wide meadow)

veinglory
10-23-2007, 03:23 AM
it was about the tenth word I tried when I wanted to start a hotmail account (back when they were cool) with a name that wasn't already taken.

Vincent
10-23-2007, 04:29 AM
Really, though, I could just use my two middle names, Evan Shepperson. They make a workable name, and I wouldn't feel like I'm cheating my own identity so much.