Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RTW: Pen name?

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.



This Week's Topic

If you couldn't use your own name, what would your pseudonym or penname be?
This is a good question. Honestly I thought about this before and I came to the conclusion that the only way I would use a pen name is if I got married. I'm Theresa Paolo I always have been. That was my name the first time I doodled a picture book (I was  6) and the first time I wrote an actual book. 
I was named after my grandma and that's why I love my first name. My grandma is amazing. My last name represents my parents and my grandparents, the people who have supported me my entire life. I may not be able to pay them back for everything they have done, the least I can do is use my name proudly. 

My last name may be difficult to pronounce, my own family doesn't even pronounce it right, but it is my last name. It's not Powell, or Palo. It's actually pronounced Payola. In elementary school kids used to call me the Paolo Crayola, crafty little buggers they were. 

I know the question is if I couldn't use my name, but that's hard because obviously I would always want to. I hate any nickname affiliated with Theresa. If you call me Terry I will scream. Not that there is anything wrong with Terry, that's what they call my grandma and my aunt, it's just not me. I guess if I had no choice, say I was writing another genre than what I am known for, I would go with Jesse Walter. My grandma, my mom's mom who passed away when I was in kindergarten is Jesse. And Walter is my grandfather who passed in 2008.

What about you? What would your pen name be? Or are you like me and would want to stick with your real name?

27 comments:

  1. I like it when writers choose penname to honor people they love ;)
    I would choose something cheesy, but catchy like Julie Dark LOL

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  2. Thanks for the pronunciation tip! Paolo, like "Payola." You don't often get the chance to ask a blogger how he or she pronounces their name--I guess because we don't ever think we'll meet in person where it would matter. But if I mention someone's blog to my wife or kids, it bothers me if I think I might be mispronouncing the blogger's name. And future radio and TV interviewers will no doubt need to know how to pronounce your name (though many times they don't seem to care--how often have we heard JK Rowling's name butchered?)Perhaps we should all have a pronunciation guide as part of our blog "About" page. :)

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  3. Jesse Walter would be a lovely pen name, especially when you hear the reasons behind it. Robin is not my real first name but Moran is my actual surname. I plan on keeping it but I have had trouble when I say it to people. Everybody needs to hear it a few times before realising what I'm saying. It's odd for me because I've never considered Moran as a hard name to pronounce.

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  4. Juliana: Julie Dark is not cheesy! I love it!

    Colin: I agree. I always agree with you lol. I can't stand seeing a name I can't pronounce especially writers. I found a website (of course now I can't remember it) that has a huge list of published writers and if you click their name it will actually have an audio clip of them saying it. I loved that. Now I don't have to second guess myself when I'm discussing one of my favorite writers.

    Robin: Moran is one name I can actually pronounce. Go figure. It's funny though because I always thought my last name was an easy name too. That is until I heard it butchered time and time again :)

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  5. Oh, that website sounds so cool! Please post a link if you ever find it again. (And thanks for the pronunciation tip--I would totally have pronounced it Pow-lo!)

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  6. I found it! I didn't think I would but I did: http://www.teachingbooks.net/pronunciations.cgi

    It's really cool. Check it out.

    And that's how some people in my own family pronounce our last name Pow-lo. I think they didn't want to correct anybody anymore so they just said yeah that's my name.

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  7. I like your real name-- it's great. I probably would have mispronounced your last name. I have a friend with the same name that pronounces it Pow-la. But now I know.

    I would NEVER, ever, call you Terry. If you don't call me Kathy.

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  8. I love how names have history, and that's why (like you) I'm sticking with the one I was given. It's me and I just don't think I could connect to a different name. Your choice for a pen name if you were writing in a different genre or market is a good one, as is the reasoning behind it. =)

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  9. KO: My last name is tricky especially since there is an O at the end and not an A. My dad says the reason is because of an ancestor that came to America had misspelled it on paperwork and it just kind of stuck. I'm not sure how much of that I believe.

    And deal *puts out hand to shake* I will never call you Kathy :)

    Jaime: Exactly! I could never connect to another name. I've always just been me :)

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  10. I love the way your name means so much to you. it's really cool to read about.

    I too probably would have mispronounced it but that is part of the fun of an interesting name!

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    1. I mispronounce most names, actually I butcher them. I could imagine if I had a different last name and saw Paolo I would also pronounce it wrong. But you're right an interesting name is fun :)

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  11. Well, I'm sorta using a pen name, but not really. I'm trying to compartmentalize my life. haha. So in high school and college I was Gerschke (my last name) or Ger, to everyone. Probably because I played a lot of sports.

    In my non writing life I'm Kelley. Or Kelley Gerschke.

    So I thought in my writing life I'd be Kelley Lynn which is my first and middle name. I've also always thought it would make a great singer name too. ;) haha.

    Good for you though for sticking with your name. In truth, it looks really pretty (I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true). Your name is very artistic as it is. I wouldn't change a thing :)

    Gerschke on the other hand. Oh those Germans :)

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    1. I love Kelley Lynn. I love when people use their first and last name and both names compliment one another so well.

      In High school I was T or my best friend calls me There-sa. Why I have no idea.

      I've never asked, how do you pronounce your last name? I have my guess, but I'm not sure I'm right. I might have to email you about it :) lol

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    2. Haha. It's...Ger-sh-key

      So German :) haha

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    3. That's what I thought. Yes! I was right. lol

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  12. Yay for keeping it in the fam. :)

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    1. I love that people are all for family like me. So I second the Yay! :)

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  13. You've been Powlo in my head (sorry about that), but then I'm from San Diego and tend to revert to Spanish pronunciations. You will forever be Payola Crayola now!

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  14. Like everyone else who responded, thanks for sharing the proper way to say your last name! It is a lovely last name and i too was pronouncing it wrong!

    For the longest time I contemplated on a pen name. I was always called Mabel as a kid for some reason, so I was gonna go with Art C Mabel. But now, I want to use my real name.

    I hated my last name growing up, especially when I hit middle school. With the last name of Ball, I got picked on a lot. But in High school things got better, until my band teachers thought it would be a great idea to mark out uniforms last name first, then first initial. My first name is Stacey, so you know where this is going. So, for the rest of high school I was known as Balls. yup.

    But now, I want to just use my real name. If I would, in the future write in 2 different genres, I would probably create a pen name for the other, although I'm not sure what I would choose for it.

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  15. Stacey: Kids are mean. My initials are TP so all through middle school/high school I was called toilet paper. After a while I just owned it. Laughed it off and was like yup that's me. Even my best friend started calling me that.

    And there is absolutely nothing wrong with your name. I love Stacey Ball. It sounds like a name that should be on a book.

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