Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Roadtrip: You? Who ARE You?

It's the 112th Roadtrip Wednesday! I've missed this blog hop and I'm glad to participate again.

This Week's Topic:

If you couldn't use your own name, what would your pseudonym or penname be?

Believe it or not, one of the first questions I asked an agent, when I met one in person, was do I need a pseudonym? Looking back on it, it doesn't seem like such an important question, but to a brand new writer who's always had her name mispronounced or misspelled in school, I really wanted to know.

My full name is Donelle Renee Lacy. I share the same initials as my deceased father. DRL. I was even named after him (Donald Lacy - Don L, get it?). I love my initials, but for years I didn't particularly love my name. I was always confused with the Danielles in my class in high school. One teacher even called me Donella because he didn't know how to pronounce it. I didn't hate my name, but I just thought if it was a little less like Danielle or Denelle, then it might be easier.

What this agent told me was no. Absolutely not. She said that my name was unique and fit my genre (Victorian YA fantasy) very well. Since then I have googled myself and discovered that (mostly due to the internet presence I've been creating) I'm the only Donelle Lacy there is. The first page of Google is filled with me! - the second one too. (not to brag, seriously, but it's pretty cool!)

Being an avid lover of character creating and naming, I still toy with the idea of a pseudonym for myself. I haven't decided if I'll call myself D. R. Lacy (a little more androgynous), Donelle R. Lacy (in tribute to my father with that same initial) or Donelle Renee Lacy when I publish. But I'm not worried now. Talking to that agent really put those concerns about creating a completely new identity for myself to rest. I can be proud of my name online in forums, chatrooms, and the blogosphere.

As someone who hid behind false identities for years in chat roleplay, I can tell you this is an anxious and exciting new world for me. I'm sometimes worried "What if I say something really stupid or off-hand to someone and they remember my name forever as that girl who said ____?" I'm still not quite up to using my real name in certain chatrooms yet, but I'm getting there.

What about you? Are you proud of your given name? Do you have a pseudonym?


  1. I Google well too, which is why I'll probably not use a pen-name, despite the misspellings and mispronunciations

  2. It sounds like you've come to terms with your name, which is lovely, BTW. I think it's a perfect name for an author writing in your genre. If it googles well, then all the better.

  3. Thanks for telling us this story, it's interesting reading what pronunciation issues other people have. When in school teachers often confused my name with that of a boy's (Jani vs Jannie). It's a language thing. It never bothered me though. Now I'm on the way to go Google myself.

  4. You have a lovely name :-) It is a scary experience to show yourself to the world...I am still partly in the closet but I did reveal my first name today lol :-)

  5. I think Donelle Lacy is a great name, and having a unique enough name that it tops search engines is a great bonus. I went with Kate Scott because I like the sound of it, and it's as close to my real name as I could get without using an already taken name. But it is hard to find in search engines because not only is Kata a very common first name and Scott is a common last name. Scott is also a common first name. So googling pops up all kinds of lists of names that include both a Kate and a Scott.

  6. Gabrielle, yes. I think it's a great perk to Google well.

    KO, thanks! Sometimes it takes time to accept all parts of yourself, even if you think you already have.

    Jani (totally dig that name, by the way) you're welcome! It's good to google yourself every once in awhile. (that somehow doesn't sound right, does it?)

    Commutinggirl, thanks! It doesn't help that I was shy as a child and had to come out of that. Now that I want to be published, I'm expected to be this internet presence - scary! (and your real name is very cute, by the way.)

  7. Yes, definitely perfect for the genre you write - your name is pretty and strong all at the same time!

  8. Good point about the Google results for a name search--I hadn't thought of that.

  9. Are you serious? You had teachers that couldn't figure out how to pronounce Donelle? Sorry, I should probably be more sensitive, but... sheesh! I think, of all people, teachers should be among the first people (along with church leaders) that attempt to learn how to pronounce your name and get it right every time. Learning someone's name and pronouncing it correctly is one of the most effective first impressions you can make with someone. And this is especially important with people whose lives you hope to influence for the better.

    Okay, rant over. I agree with others, Donelle Lacy is perfect for your genre.

    Surprisingly, Colin D Smith Googles well for me. Right now, my website comes out on top, with my blog right behind it. It seems I've made enough of a mess on the internet, Google knows who to blame. :)

  10. I love your full name, it's very pretty and unique =) I agree that it suits your genre too. I'd definitely keep it!

  11. Thanks, Jennifer P. And actually, according to this site: the boy name Donell (which is how my name was originally and mistakenly spelled on my birth certificate) means 'world-mighty, brown-haired warrior'. I wondered why I liked to collect weapons!

    Rebecca B, I'm glad I could help!

    Michael, Zachary Silver sounds like a great name for a boy MC in a MG or YA novel. One who kicks much butt!

    Yep, Colin! I'm serious. I've had professors, teachers, and various other people mispronounce my name. When I was younger I was too shy to correct them. It was even misspelled on my original birth certificate! (We fixed that, though.)

    Thanks, Jaime! I will!

  12. Donelle Lacy is a great YA name. :)

  13. I always wished for a different name like yours. And how cool that it goes with your dad's.

  14. Your name is beautiful.

    Got to agree, the fact that when you're using your real name online, anything can be traced back to it scares me. All it takes is one misstep... one bad day rant... one poorly handled retort...

    But it's also a good reminder to behave online exactly as I would in real life. Mean well, speak well, do well.

  15. I like your name the way it is!
    My name is not very common so on google I only find me ;)
    Love the pic from Alice in Wonderland!

  16. I had to "mature" and grow into my name. When I was a child I wanted to change my name to BUFFY. I believed I was born Buffy. Now, I'm glad my name is NOT Buffy. ha.

  17. I find using my own name sometimes anxiety provoking too. Your name is definitely unique, and that's a good thing. BTW, I like your website. Very slick.

  18. Thanks, everyone!

    And yes, E. Maree, it does make us careful how we behave online when we carry our real names around. A little scary, maybe, but I think more people should be that responsible online.


I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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