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Changing Your Name

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
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A cold, hard fact

Post by TonyHays » Mon September 13th, 2010, 11:44 am

That's so true, EC2. There's more interest these days, academically, in genre fiction. I was invited to provide a brochure blurb for my alma mater's creative writing program. One of the selling points of the program was that they wanted students to write what they wanted to write, be that genre fiction or the rather sadly-named "literary" fiction. I say sadly because, to me, all fiction is literature, be it good or bad.

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Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
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Post by Margaret » Tue September 14th, 2010, 3:58 pm

I actually studied under two Iowa graduates, and we were told that writing a story from the POV of a person with a different gender or ethnic background than our own was forbidden. That was just unacceptable at the time. It was fake, false, and the reader would immediately know it.
A lot of the fiction written by graduates of academic writing programs doesn't much appeal to the vast majority of readers, and this may actually be part of the reason. Really good fiction is all about the imagination; of course, readers want it to ring true, but if a writer is afraid to imagine anything, it's going to kill creativity, which is the soul of fiction. This "rule" about not using a POV that doesn't closely match the author's personal experience and identity would also rule out historical novels, wouldn't it? After all, by definition, none of us has experienced living in a time before we were born! I do think it's more difficult to write effectively and believably about someone very different from oneself, and that's why I particularly admire novelists who can do this well.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Post by TonyHays » Tue September 14th, 2010, 5:22 pm

Well, it would, Margaret. Obviously, I didn't listen to the "conventional wisdom" of the time. And I am very happy that I didn't.

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The name's the same

Post by writerinthenorth » Fri November 5th, 2010, 11:23 am

If I had my time again I think I might be tempted to write under a nom de plume simply because there are so many writers with the same name as me, David Williams, which makes it harder to find me and my stuff, especially in these days of the ubiquitous search engine.

Having said that, I must admit there is something deliciously ego-boosting about seeing your own name on the cover of your own books.

My only hope is that one day I will write a Booker winner. Perhaps then people will say, 'Are you really THE David Williams?'

One day.... :)


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Post by wendy » Fri November 5th, 2010, 11:35 am

I think it must depend on how the publishers want to market a particular author. I have a literary pirate book coming out in June and Penguin have let me keep the "Wendy" of my name - perhaps because they want to draw in female readers to an area usually dominated by male writers.
They did try to drop my middle initial but as I have five other books under a pre-existing name they agreed to let me keep it.

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