The other day I was doing some brainstorming/creative writing when I stumbled across this site and I was smitten. It was love at first sight. I seriously love names, in fact it is quickly veering into obsession. I love etymology and figuring out the significance, history, meaning of words--especially names. When I am writing I always want any name I use to mean something. So naturally the same should go for the pen name I would choose for myself when I am published and rich and famous. Naturally! So I thought it would be fun to write a little something about a possible nom de plume for myself using the tips from that site as well as a couple extra of my own.
My Full Name Is: London Shea Gygi Schade
That is quite a mouthful to work with. I mean, I love my first name--seriously my parents were genius in choosing it for me. I was the only London I had ever heard of until about the last ten years, and I loved growing up and going to class and never, ever knowing another London. The name completely suits me, as do some of the nicknames that come along with it: Londy Loo, Lond, and Longon just to name a few. I have always loved my first name, and I think it loves me right back. So yes, for my pen name I think the full London would have to be included for me to be completely happy with it. But after that I really have no idea what I want it to say, read, and feel. Which is why the steps from the How To website were very helpful, not to mention so much fun.
Step 1: How much of your actual name do you want to keep?
Well, all of my first name is a must. As far as the rest of my names, I like Schade, but no one ever gets it right. So it would be fun to spin it into the name I originally thought was the pronunciation of my husband's last name. Using this logic I would pen London Shade, but that is almost too cliche, don't you think? Sounds like a fake name, and I can't have that for MY fake name. You can also mix up the letters. A few of those options for me might include: Sheldon, Donna, Lanna, Edon.
Step 2: Decide the genre and a name that suits it. Tip: for fantasy and sci fi use initials while for literary works choose something that flows.
Ha! Ok, so I actually have to define what type of writer I am before I can choose a pen name? Forget that! Instead I will just choose a fantasy name, a sci fi name, and a literary name, that way I will never be caught in the lurch and umprepared for what type of story leaks out of my pen. So for fantasy: S. G. London works. For sci fi: L. G. Shea is nice. And for literary works: Shea G. London? I like it.
Step 3: Make sure the complete name isn't awkward with too many of the same letter or too many syllables.
Gah! I guess that means Shea Shade is out. Dang! So now what? L.S.G.S.? I don't believe I have ever seen a pen name of only letters so that must be too simplistic.
Step 4: Pick psudonyms by mixing and matching full names, initials, and nicknames.
S. G. Lond / Shea London / S. S. Don / Loo G. Shade / Gygidy Shea Wow! I mean the possibilities are limitless when it comes to this mixing and matching thing. Which am I possibly going to choose?
Step 5: When you have settled on a name, turn to the internet to see if anyone else is using it.
Again, gah! I can't believe Loo G. Shade is already being used! J/K, it isn't, but this step totally makes sense if you are serious about being a writer and picking a psuedonym. I mean, obviously J.K. Rowling would be a good choice, but it is already taken, sorry.
Step 6: Say the name out loud, using it in a sentence.
"I will have to buy S.S. Don's new book when it is released, So good!" "I can't believe the cliffhanger Shea Shade put us through in that last book." "Shea G. London is at a book signing in London!" Yep, I can see where this would certainly help. Shea Shade is definitely out.
Step 7: Choose your favorite and just go with it.
Now that I have this long list of fake names for my writing hand I will have to narrow them down and pick a fave. Right now I am leaning towards L.G. Shea and Shea London.
Step 8: Do a little research and find some ancestors' names to use.
Family names are a great way to go if you are still not satisfied up to this point. I love doing family history work and finding out old, weight bearing names from my list of ancestors. For example, my great grandmother was Florence Leona. Now THAT is a great name. I also have Silas, Magdalena, and Wainwright hidden among my family tree. So what about Florence London? That has a pretty good ring. S. L. Wainwright also very good.
Step 9: Find other words you like and use them in your name.
By now if you are not finding anything you like for your pseudonym then you can start throwing a few other words into the mix. For me I have always like the word carousel. There is just something so whimsical and nostalgic about that word. Also a little midnight circus mystery. Say it a few times: carousel, carousel, carousel. Yep, still in love with it I must say and L.G. Carousel, that is a great publishing name.
Step 10: If all else fails, use a random name generator.
Here are a few of the names spit out by my generator of choice: Stefan Menno, Ashanti London, London Evie, Mathilde Shea. Again, how will I ever choose? ;)
Well, with this mix of names well underway you better be on the lookout for the next big name in publishing. If you see any of these pop up it could very well be me hiding behind them. Honestly, I may not be any closer to picking a real life pseudonym, but it sure is fun to use these ten steps and see what you can came up with.