How to Create a Pen Name

Updated July 12, 2018

Authors and entertainers are just a few of the professions where people tend to use a pen or stage name rather than their actual identity. This is to protect themselves and cover up their actual identity. Some of the most famous pen names are Mark Twain (real name Samuel Clemens) and Dr. Seuss (real name Theodor Geisel). People often wonder how authors create their pen name; however, the process may not be as extensive as you think.

One common way to create a pen name is to use your middle name as your first name and use the name of the street you live on as your last name. In the case of Dr. Seuss, Seuss was his middle name, and he simply chose to add a professional title before it. In some cases, the name of the street a person lives on is too ridiculous to use in a pen name, and the person should opt for something else.

Another common way to develop a pen name is to use the name of a pet you had as a child (or currently have) as your first name and use an action verb as your last name. The action verb should be an activity you enjoy doing but doesn't have to be. For example, if you had a dog named Bailey (which is fairly common) and you enjoyed to sing, then your pen name would be Bailey Singer. Like the previous suggestions, this one doesn't always work, and the author should use his or her own discretion when it comes to creating a pen name.

Lastly, the easiest way to create a pen name is to simply make a list of first names you like (James, Chris, Mary etc...) and then use a common last name such as Jones, Smith, of Johnson as your last name. There is not set rules for creating a pen name, but rather just a lot of suggestions on how to make a unique-sounding name. Remember, a clever-sounding, eye-catching pen name could make a big difference in whether or not someone decides to read your work.

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