This week’s blog is on pen names, pseudonyms, non de plumes, whatever you want to call them.
People have different reasons for using them, but my reason centred on the fact I always have to spell my surname whenever I give it to someone. So much so I don’t even bother saying it now at first. When people ask my name (say on the phone) I reply “I’ll spell it for you” and then pronounce it for them.
Anyway, I went through a few choices trying some from leftover / unused characters from my short stories but I didn’t feel they fit me.
So I tried anagram generators where you plug in your name and see what comes out. I got a few interesting results, and a few horrifically bad ones, but none that would serve as a name. Eventually I knew I was never getting one that way, so I looked into other methods.
- Random word generators, nope.
- The “porn name” method (first street, first pet, variations there in), nope.
Finally I came across an article about combining things you enjoy. In a way it’s similar to the porn name method but using favourites rather than firsts, one of which was favourite drink.
My favourite alcoholic drink is whisky but out of all of them I either didn’t like as names or they sounded way too pretentious. But my other favourite drink is Captain Morgan’s Black Spiced Rum.
Morgan I liked (obviously), so that was a start. One of the other benefits was it is kind of gender neutral, which a lot of sites suggested as being a good thing. There are plenty of male and female Morgan’s out there when I Googled the name.
I guess once you have seen my photo you work it out, but for a casual observer looking through Amazon listings you wouldn’t necessarily know for sure.
The surname came later while reading my favourite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes.
After that it was a quick check on Amazon to see if there were any other Morgan Hobbes’ around. Not that I really mind but I’d just rather there wasn’t, especially if there was one who had pumped out like a dozen block busters, or if there were like forty people already called that.
Fortunately not as it happens, so when I put out my block busters they won’t get confused or lost in the masses.
Last step was to check the domain name – www.morganhobbes.com – so I could get a website to match. This was probably the most worrying step because it’s hard finding a non-registered domain that some dodgy cyber-squatter isn’t trying to extort you out of thousands of dollars for.
I lucked out on both, and here I am.
So what is my real name?
Well like Slartibartfast to that I reply: My name is not important.
What is important is the name on the book because that’s how you’ll find me on Amazon.
Interesting side note on Slartibartfast:
Douglas Adams writes in the notes accompanying the published volume of original radio scripts that he wanted Slartibartfast’s name to sound very rude, but still actually be broadcastable. He therefore started with the name “Phartiphukborlz”, and changed bits of it until it would be acceptable to the BBC.
Quoted from – http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Slartibartfast
Phartiphukborlz… I think that’s possibly my favourite made-up name ever.