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Saturday

A to Z Writing: Noms de Plume Need No Introduction


Writers have adopted noms de plume, or pen names, throughout literary history.

A novelist, poet, or journalist may employ a pseudonym for privacy purposes. Others might use noms de plume to conceal a nationality, mask gender or hide shared authorship.

Still more may write under pen names to separate genres under which they write. For example, a financial writer might use a nom de plume to pen romance novels. A best-selling horror writer could adopt a pseudonym to write children’s books.

Consider these 15 examples of famous authors’ noms de plume:

  • Anatole France – Jacques Anatole Fran├žois Thibault
  • Ann Landers – Esther Pauline Friedman
  • Ayn Rand – Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum
  • Dr. Seuss – Theodor Seuss Geisel
  • Ellery Queen – Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee
  • George Eliot – Mary Ann Evans
  • George Orwell – Eric Arthur Blair
  • James Herriot – James Alfred Wight
  • Joseph Conrad - Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
  • Lemony Snicket – Daniel Handler
  • Lewis Carroll – Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
  • Mark Twain – Samuel Langhorne Clemens
  • O. Henry – William Sydney Porter
  • Saki – Hector Hugh Munro
  • Sapphire – Ramona Lofton

Personally, I use a pen name.

It started when I branched out from a professional corporate communications career into creative writing. Of course, my nom de plume made even more sense when I began blogging and writing for multiple online news sites.

Have you seen some of the comments readers stick on political and sports articles?

 I prefer the privacy of a pen name. My real name reaps very little on a Google, Bing, or Yahoo search. But my pseudonym turns up enough.

And nope, I’m not telling.


Sometimes, using a pseudonym allows a writer to be extra candid and truthful.

More than a few writing colleagues have confessed that they find more freedom in sharing personal anecdotes under the protection of their pen names. Like the famous opening line from the 1950s-1960s Dragnet television series, “The names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

That is, if you can call the writers innocent. But that’s another blog post altogether.

Image:  
Writing Hands by Sandro Botticelli
Circa 1485
Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons
2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge logo
Fair Use

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2 comments:

  1. I use a pen name also, having moved into a genre of fiction that I wanted to separate from others. My pen name isn't too far away from my real life name, and I use it interchangeably. Interesting set of blogs you are doing for A-Z. New follower!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I use one because I have books with different publishers.

    ReplyDelete

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