On "Real Life name please, no pseudonyms"

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On "Real Life name please, no pseudonyms"

Postby crit30021 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:31 am

I am bothered by this request on the submission page: "Real Life name please, no pseudonyms". Are my initials ok?

If I search for my name, which I did today because I'm interviewing for a new job, I can find my name and submission title under the critter queue.

This also just came up in PodCastle Flash Fiction contest; I did not realize that author's name would be published once voting ended for each group. The manuscripts were submitted with all names removed, and I thought they would remain anonymous. Even one of the two stories I have had published (but luckily by such a small, and now extinct venue that it will never be found in a search engine, did NOT use my initials as used in my byline.

What is up with this? I just joined, I'm not interested in making wave or complaints, but surely I am not the only for whom this is a problem.

On a slightly different, but related note, I received a reply back on a critique that was not a thank you, but rather, a "you're-wrong-and-I'm-right" message. On one level, that's fine: I've been a part of critique groups and I understand writers want to defend their works. But ... we live in a world where people get digitally (and otherwise) stalked.
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Re: On "Real Life name please, no pseudonyms"

Postby crit19292 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:58 am

Uh, what?

First, are you angry about using your name, or glad to see that proper connections between your work and you are being supported? Personally, I tend to use a pseudoname on the internet just because my name is rather common. I want my works to be connected to me, and not all the others with my name. For the same reason, the actual name I claim is really my nickname, although I grew up with everyone calling me that, so as far as I am concerned it is my real name.

Second, I feel that you are being gracious about the critique, and that speaks well of you. I have had experiences where the one I critiqued wanting to start a conversation (debate) about things I said. Honestly, that is personally fine. I agree that an author should defend his work and the way he presented his work, and I agree that some things might need to be explained better by me. My question sometimes is how far to go with the conversation (debate). Should I start bringing up other issues just to continue speaking with the person if the conversation begins to wind down?
I will not deny myself having my opinions.
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Re: On "Real Life name please, no pseudonyms"

Postby crit33524 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:03 pm

On the name issue, I would put it differently. I would say that the name you use here should be the name you hope to eventually see your work published under. If that's your real name, fine - but if you happen to be a western-fantasy writer named Stephen King, you might prefer a pseudonym. Similarly if your name is John Smith - according to a white-pages phone book, there are about 20 such people in the Seattle metropolitan area, and even more in the Portland OR area.

But the more common sort of internet pseudonym... beekeeper... warrl... bighairymike... rosewine... mach333... some of them could be used a surnames, but not as complete names for professional publication.

As for the possibly-unpleasant response to a critique...

as an author, I figure that if you completely fail to understand what I write, there are two possible explanations: (1) you're an idiot, and therefore arguing with you would be a waste of my time; or (2) my writing really needed to be more clear, so I should work on that rather than argue with you. (And I assume the latter until proven otherwise.)

I try to write a thank-you response to each critique I receive, picking out some detail of the critique to make particular note of - not to argue with though!

As a critiquer... I've been in the position of having somebody disagree vehemently with my critique, and in fact watched a couple situations where a person disagreed vehemently with EVERY critique of their work. Oddly, such people don't learn much, and soon leave the critiquing community. In the long run, arguing with them is not a good use of time. Maybe eventually someone will get through to them and they'll improve, but it won't be me or at least not with THAT critique.
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