This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
WORDup!
with Cass & Janie Jackson
■ Although money can’t buy you love,
NAME GAMES
it can defi nitely ease pain. The journal
Psychological Science reports on an experi-
ment at a Chinese university, involving two
groups of students. They were told that
they were taking part in an experiment
for fi nger dexterity. Half were given a stack
of paper currency, the others had blank
pieces of paper. Counting completed, both
groups were asked to dip their fi ngers in
scalding water. Result? Those who’d been
playing with the bank notes reported less
pain than those who’d been counting bits
of paper. Conclusion? Money can ease pain.
NB: Shuffl ing plastic credit cards does not
have the same effect.
beginning or end of the alphabet – the middle Before and after: Sheila used an early ■ When we began to discuss this month’s
shelves normally being more easily accessed. photo of herself to promote her new column, Janie said: ‘New beginnings, of
Whereas Catherine Jones says: ‘People in series to attract a younger audience course. A fresh start and all that.’ A bit hack-
bookshops and libraries often start at “A” and neyed, maybe? But January seems a sensible
work through the shelves from there.’ time to start a completely new project
And Rosemary Laurey recommends: ‘Pick a fact, I do often ‘forget’ who I am. And Pamela – perhaps something you’ve vaguely con-
last name that will be shelved right near a best- Brooks recalls how she was once recognised sidered but put on the back burner. We’re
selling author in the same genre.’ and addressed as Kate at an awards dinner she launching a fortnightly talk-fest for writ-
Good thinking! In fact my Sheila Norton was attending as ‘herself’, and completely failed ers. Maybe you could take similar action to
books were often found next to Freya North’s, to respond because she wasn’t in ‘Kate’ mode. extend your social circle?
but that was accidental! Never neglect your social life. Writers
My editor and I chose my own pen name, So is it a good idea to use need to meet people, because any chance
Olivia Ryan, from a shortlist I’d selected of a pseudonym? remark can ignite an idea for a story or an
‘modern and young-sounding’ names. We both If you’re a new writer, and you’re happy with article. Whatever else you don’t do in 2010,
liked Olivia, but I didn’t realise until after I was your own name, it’s probably easiest to use do ensure that you contact as many new
‘re-christened’ that it’s now one of the most that, unless you really want to be anonymous. people as possible. Go to the pub or an
popular names for new baby girls – making me But have a think about the persona you want to exhibition of Aztec art or a tea dance. Don’t
sound, perhaps, even younger than I intended. project to your readers. stick to places you know. Visit any place at
Perhaps your name dates you; if so, does it all where people gather. And talk to them.
Can pen names cause problems? matter? Would it help your appeal to your tar-
This depends on the circumstances. I was asked get audience if you ‘market’ yourself as older, ■ This is usually a dismal time of year.
to keep my identity secret at fi rst, which was younger or the opposite sex? Does your name Affl ictions like swine fl u and gastric upsets
quite hard, as readers of my Sheila Norton ‘match’ the voice you write in, and suit the type tend to appear. We’re not shamans or medi-
novels were asking about my plans for further of book you’re writing? For instance, some cal types, so we can’t advise about physical
books. It also involved setting up a second names sound serious, others less so – it could ills. But we do have a few hints about dealing
website and blog – not insurmountable – be worth considering this. with the dreaded reluctance to write. Buy
because my Sheila Norton books were still If you’re already writing under your own a bright red poinsettia and stand it in your
obtainable, and I’ve continued to write short name and want to change, or an editor suggests offi ce. Play some lively music and dance to
stories under that name for the women’s mag- a change, it’s important to decide whether to it. Best of all – switch on your computer
azine market. reveal yourself as having both identities or keep and, for the next fi ve minutes, key in the
Now that I’ve ‘come out’, life is a lot easier. them separate. following statement: I love to write and do
Catherine Jones has occasional hiccups with ‘I think you weight the odds in your favour by it well. Simply repeat the phrase over and
both her names. using a pseudonym for a new line,’ says Hugh. over. After fi ve minutes of that we guaran-
‘The trouble with being Catherine Jones is ‘You’re starting off with, as it were, a clean tee your enthusiasm will be bubbling again.
that when you Google that name you get about sheet.’ Well – it’s worth trying, surely?
a million references to Catherine Zeta Jones. You might never know whether or not your
Obviously we’re virtually interchangeable apart success and popularity benefi t from the use of ■ We can’t resist this little verse. We found
from the face, fi gure and income! a pen name. But if you do use one, treat it as it while in the throes of a great clear-out in
‘But Kate Lace really only comes up with me an adventure, enjoy ‘being someone different’ – an attempt to fi nd some space in the offi ce.
– result! Unless, that is, you Google the phrase and do choose the name with great care!
‘Kate Lace Little Black Dress’. The juxtaposition Pamela Brooks warns: ‘Choose one that you Breaking the Block
of ‘lace’ and ‘black’ gives some quite extraordi- like and can live with – it might end up that If worms can write their poetry under stones,
nary results!’ your alter ego becomes more well-known than If beetles can write theirs behind bark,
Hugh C Rae gets lots of wisecracks about you are.’ And if spiders can spin beauty in dark corners
being Jessica Stirling when he turns up for If you become famous one day and you’ve Then what is my excuse for idleness?
library talks. ‘Although north of the border, the saddled yourself with something like Honey John D Engle Jr
guy with a girl’s name was never a secret,’ he Romford, it could be too late to change back!
says. ‘Good fun, actually!’ ■ And fi nally, our message for 2010? Hang
Signing the wrong name at book signings is a • Tales from a Honeymoon Hotel by Olivia Ryan – on to your dreams.
very real danger mentioned by Rosemary – and the third in the ‘Tales From’ series – is published
even with only two names of my own, I have to by Piatkus at £7.99. For more information visit • Janie and Cass Jackson have been helping
concentrate hard sometimes to avoid this. In www.oliviaryan.com writers since 1988. Visit www.fl air4words.co.uk
Writers

FORUM #99 45
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