My intentions this morning was to cull out some very old files in my Documents folder. Something I shouldn’t have taken the time to do. But that’s neither here nor there. (Didn’t work anyway)
I came across an old, old article I’d written and I thought it would be fun to share. (Please be gentle as you read this. I was just beginning to learn the proper writing skills.)
The PegBoard ©
May 21, 2001
Some Thoughts . . .
I've been following a number of interesting threads in one of my mailing lists. It's a busy list and not all topics that come up are of interest, so I exercise my delete key quite ruthlessly. And, of course, I always end up hitting that key once too often and delete something I did actually want to keep. Fortunately, my email program keeps all deleted email until I actually sign out of it, so it's easy enough to retrieve. Unless, that is, I don't realize I've deleted it until I go back to find it the next day. Then, it's gone for good.
Anyway, back to the interesting topics I've been tracking. One has to do with a filing system; keeping track of manuscripts, submissions, rejections, guidelines, etc. The question was: Do you keep separate files for each of these, or do you keep one file for each project. As you would expect, the answers were as varied as the people who devised them. One gal outlined her system in steps: when she does this, it goes there. Then, when something happens, she moves it somewhere else, and so on. It's a pretty nifty system, but it wouldn't work for me. Though I don't intend to be, I am a procrastinator. I tell myself I'm too busy to move that result to it's proper spot, so I set it aside in a 'to-do' folder, and there it sits. And I really am busy at the time something else requires my attention.
The second option of filing, keeping one file per project, works much better for me. All I need to do is reach for that one single folder and stick the item in it. Done. No need to worry about moving it to some other spot. Is it as effective? Probably not. But it's the best I've got and I (usually) know to what point my work has progressed.
How about some of you? Any special methods you use that we could share? I'd love to hear from you.
The other topic has to do with 'pen names' and this has been a lively, fun discussion. Ranging from using a simple first & last name, such as John Doe, or getting a little more creative. John H. Doe; J.H. Doe; J. Henry Doe; John Henry Doe; John Henry Doe, Ph.D.
In the case of Jane Doe, the possibilities are even more creative. Say Doe is Jane's married name. Her maiden name is Fawn. Her middle name is Mary. Now she has the same choices as John has, with the addition of using her maiden name. So, we can now choose from: Jane Mary Fawn-Doe; Jane Fawn; Mary Fawn, and so on. Can you see what fun we had with this?
Take it a step further, some of us on the list have nicknames, not part of our legal, given names. For example, Peggy is a nickname. My real name is Margaret. That makes the combination possibilities even more fun. One more kicker, say Jane Doe is divorced and Doe is her second husband's name. Her first husband's name was Baker. Her nickname, for some obscure reason, is Judy. So, here we go: Jane Judy Mary Fawn-Baker-Doe, or any combination of them all.
This was all from simply using our own real names. One of the gals on the list writes teen books where her main characters are boys. She uses her initials and last name, which is non-gender-specific. This gives her writing more credibility.
Other things we discussed was if a man wrote romance, would he use his own name? Probably not. He would most likely create a feminine name to give his writing acceptance, or use his initials, as mentioned above. Who would pick up a romance book written by John Doe? John would be better served if he becomes Jane.
So, choosing your pen name can be serious business, considering what you write.
I'd be interested in hearing from you if you have any comments on either—or both—of these topics.