I recently entered a writing competition in which stories had to be submitted under pseudonyms. Although I think anonymous judging is a good idea, choosing a pen name was surprisingly difficult. I tried anagrams of my real name, a nickname added to names of places where I’ve lived and occupations I’ve had, mixes of pets and children’s names – but I didn’t like any of them.
Brainwave! I could simply use some initials: A.B.C. That would be a truly anonymous name with no clues about my sex, age, nationality or anything else that might colour the judge’s view of my story.
If I was that judge I’d be wondering if A.B.C. stood for:
Amber Bella Chrystal
Arthur Basil Carruthers
Annie Beryl Chuddington
Antonio Baldassare Conti
Archie Bob Cornstalk
Amy Bo Chan
Aaargh! Botheration! Claptrap!
I know exactly who all those A.B.C’s are. I can see and hear them quite clearly. I know their likes, dislikes and secrets. And now they’ll be pestering me to write their stories!
Note to writing competition judges
No, I didn’t use A.B.C. for my entry so if you come across those initials, it’s not me!
After much thought I chose what I hoped would be a very plain, ordinary, and forgettable name.
Do you use a pen name? How did you choose it?