Posts Tagged ‘Pen Names’

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a writer, and for as long as I’ve known about pen names, I’ve wanted to have one of my own. (More about my reasons in another post.)

It took me a while to find a pseudonym that suited me. The first time I tried, I sat down with a baby name book and made a list of names I liked both the sound and meaning of, including names that I thought would make suitable last names. What I came up with was “Clara Brent.” One meaning for “Clara” is “light,” and “Brent” can mean “a high place or hill.” So “Clara Brent” together meant “a light on a high place, a la Matthew 5:15-16. “Brent” is also the name of a very dear uncle of mine who passed away when I was twenty, so it carried a special significance. I liked “Clara Brent,” but I felt like I needed something snazzier for the young adult market. That’s when I remembered a tidbit I’d picked up in a graduate course in children’s lit.

His name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, but you probably know him as Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (and many other delightful works). According to the information I found on the internet, Dodgson chose to write under a pen name to protect his privacy.

When in search of a pen name, he translated his first and middle names into Latin, getting “Carolus Lodovicus.” Then he reversed their order, changed them into more English forms, and voila! “Lewis Carroll” was born. (If you’d like to read more about Lewis Carroll, I recommend checking out the website of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America.)

I really liked the idea of a pen name that was linked in meaning to my real name. So I decided to try something similar. Unlike Charles Dodgson, I didn’t attend Oxford, and I’m completely unacquainted with Latin. So I decided I’d plug my first and last names into a baby name search engine, and see what the possible meanings for them were. Then I did a search for names that had the same or similar meaning, and this is what I came up with:

Laura–laurel, crown–Cole, Lawrence (and many others)

Weldon–glen, valley–Deena, Glenda (and many others)

Then, as Charles Dodgson did, I switched my first and last names (he switched first and middle), and put together from the lists I’d compiled the names I thought sounded nice and went together. The results (which you know if you’ve read my “About Us” page) were “Deena Cole” and “Glenda Lawrence.”

I thought Deena Cole sounded the best for young adult fiction–more modern. That’s the name I plan to publish under if this first WIP ever sells.

So what about you? Do you like the idea of using a pen name? Why? If you have a nom de plume, how did you come up with it?


Read Full Post »