Some people are born with a grand name, others must fashion their own. Today my mind is fastened around the concept of stage names and pen names…..pseudonyms. Why do people choose or choose not to use them?
The first two people who come to mind when I think of writers who took up a pen name, had good reason to do so. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain as well as the renown Jane Austen. First off, I must say, I think Langhorne is a pretty amazing middle name, although he probably got made fun of for it. If he lived in our time, he definitely wouldn’t hear the end of it. That brings me to Jane, who supposedly penned the classic Sense and Sensibility in 1811, under the pseudonym “A Lady.” How’s that for sophisticated? I think that was code for like, “that’s right, I’m a woman!” or “more women should follow their dreams and write amazing lit like this.”
I think it’s important to note that pen names shouldn’t be seen as masks as much as maybe viewed as a fresh platform. No one thinks it’s dishonest when Bobby tells his new friends at college his name is Bob or Robert. In my case, a pen name is to keep my writing separate from my music and personal life. The name also holds deep sentiment for me.
So— I considered entitling this post “You write like a man!” after I read about what Joanna Penn thinks about using pseudonyms. She comes from the perspective of the ‘gender issues.’ Since Penn writes thrillers and that market is dominated by male writers, she has taken the pen name J.F. Penn.
A more well known author who did the exact same thing for the same reasons is J.K. Rowling. She chose the pseudonym Robert Galbraith for her crime fiction novel that came out this year.
I’m sure people feel it is unnecessary to ‘hide’ behind a name that isn’t theirs, but I don’t believe using a pseudonym is always an act of skirting around ones true identity. Unfortunately, we live in a world that truly does judge a book by its cover, with that being said, choosing a pen name can sometimes serve as to not distract the reader from delighting in what’s beyond the cover. And much like Penn and Rowling, some authors use their initials as pseudonyms and it’s only to make the distinction between different genres or keep their personal life autonomous. But in the end, Joanna says “The author doesn’t matter. The reader matters.” Here, here J.F. Penn!
In closing, I’d like to leave you with a few celebs that have no need for the use of pseudonyms because their parents named them with the stage in mind ❤ Dick Van Dyke, David Hasselhoff, Gwyneth Paltrow, Yo-Yo Ma, Channing Tatum, and Keira Knightly.
Thanks for stopping bye! Happy Friday!