Since Shrinky’s really into notoriety and trumpeting one’s own horn, he doesn’t think much of authors who use pen names or actors who trade in Bernard Schwartz for Tony Curtis. Try explaining it to him and he simply shakes his head. Why an author would want to be anyone but who they are? What is that author trying to hide? To him, a nome de plume is sign of deep psychological issues. Then again, he thinks cosmetic surgery is too.
Which is probably why we disagree on an individual’s reasons for having a pen name or getting a nose job.
An old friend, one who’s had a mustache since I met him back in 9th grade, recently asked me what my pen name was going to be. I’ve kicked around a couple of ideas. I don’t think publishers would be pleased if I went with Old Bitey, but it would put me at the beginning of the alphabet on bookshelves. So how does one go about choosing a name to be plastered on a book cover? How did Nora Roberts choose JD Robb? I dig the initial thing, but could I go with a one-name nome de plume a la Madonna or Homer (and I don’t mean The Simpsons)?
I’m sure my old 9th grade buddy. who we’ll call "Fritz," would suggest Freda. Swell would tell me to go with my initials. And Shrinky would suggest therapy.
Then he’d expect I’d want to have my nose done, but he’d be wrong. I’d have a chin implant.