Heroic Alias

I was just about to skip posting a writerly thought for Thursday when inspiration struck. I got into bed around 3:30 in the morning, (why, I don’t know, because I wasn’t getting any writing done). At around a quarter to 8:00 my spidey senses started to tingle. I leapt up out of bed, threw on some track pants, tracked down my sandals and headed for the front door.

As I came around the back of the house yelling out “Mikha” in spite of my wife and son still snoozing away behind the bedroom window next to me, I found our dear, sweet dog out of her pen, a rag doll chicken in her maw. The wallop I gave her across snout made her reconsider her proximity to both the chicken and me. She ended up on a tether, the now traumatized and half naked chicken was escorted back into her coop, and I ended up back in the office, blood pumping too fast to consider going back to bed, especially with chicken number two still missing.

That’s where internet wandering came into the equation and a happy accident on YouTube. I stumbled across a video called “Confessions of an Erotica Writer.” (Don’t worry, the confessions aren’t nearly as titillating as one might expect/hope.) But as is often the case, something was said that made me think of writing in a different way.

The highlighted author, Rachel Kramer Bussel, mentioned that her writing tends to be a bit more daring when she writes under a male pseudonym. It didn’t sound like it was something that she intended on doing, that’s just how it turned out. So the question is: could we use that little mental trick to help us be more productive?

Superheroes fight crime under an alias. Both we and our characters act differently when we play dress up and head to a costume party. Could that same trick work for the heroic task of writing?

The question then becomes: when would we use it? It is important as writers to develop a platform and our name should be firmly cemented to that platform. Using a pseudonym would only weaken your platform, unless of course you are writing for a genre that is not a part of your niche. And what’s wrong with that? I think we all have other writing of some form or another.

David Farland, the creator of the Runelords series, started out in Science Fiction as himself, Dave Wolverton. When he wanted to cross over to Fantasy he had to do so via the pseudonym Farland. So you see, pseudonyms aren’t just for making sure your dear old granny doesn’t find out that all of those steamy love scenes she’s been reading were written by her little angel. You can use a pseudonym for anything, article writing, essays, commentary, moving from genre to genre. We all have a lot of other writing that we would like to get done and I’m wondering if sitting down and saying to ourselves, “Alright, I am Davina Steele, romance writer, it’s time to get to work,” might help us to not just get the writing done, but to let loose and have some fun with it.

Today’s Question:
What other avenues of writing could you consider coming up with a pseudonym for?

Me? Science Fiction, Political Essays, Construction and Farm How To articles, and maybe even a bit of the Erotica (though don’t ask me to share my pseudonym for it). And for those of you about to knock Romance or Erotica, keep in mind, those are writers who can feed themselves . . . via their writing.


damihjva said...

We were told at a writer's workshop that pseudonyms are a good idea when you have a following in one genre are are looking to cross over into another one. It avoids confusion for your fans and is especially convenient for those writers who write in both fiction and non.

The main reason why I use my initials instead of just going by my first name is to keep my gender concealed at first glance. Even though we've made much in way of progress in SF/F, a percentage of its readers will still pass up on a book if it is written by a female author. http://www.bookninja.com/?p=2602

So, for me, this allows me the opportunity of at least having someone look at my book and getting hooked before looking at the bio and realizing, "Oh, some chick wrote this."

I'd most likely write under a different name when writing SF, Horror, and Fiction Lit. Oh, yeah. And the Erotica.

David Noceti said...

You know, I'd never thought about that before, masking your sexuality via initials. I thought you did it because it sounded so cool. If you don't have a writer's name, I don't know who does.

Of course, what I'm really interested in with the pseudonym is simply tricking ourselves to get work done. My theory is that if we believe that no one will really know who wrote it, we can go easier on ourselves and actually have fun with the writing.

damihjva said...

LOL. My Opera Coach used to tell me that I had the perfect stage name.

My EC name is Lauren Matthews. Swanky.

Speaking of writing, thanks for introducing the crack addiction, a la Facebook. Now I'll NEVER get any writing done. :D

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