If you thought that we were going to discuss sleeping as an aid to better writing – well, that’s true but that’s not the type of zz’s we are going to catch.
Cronin Detzz Pen Names

What do these names have in common:
Eric Blair
Francois-Marie Arouet
Sam Clemens

Ah, you saw Sam Clemens and you caught on. These are pen names. Eric Blair wrote as George Orwell, Francois-Marie Arouet was Voltaire, and of course you know that Sam Clemens was Mark Twain. Have you considered using a pen name? If you use your given name but were given the option for a pen name, what name would you choose?

Cronin Detzz is my pen name. I use it for two reasons. First, my real name is very common and forgettable. Second – and more importantly – my mother was a writer and she mentored me. Cronin Detzz was her pen name. Ironically, I am a junior so my mother and I not only share the same “real” name, we also have the same pen name.

Mom was killed by a drunk driver when I was 24. She was only 45. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to use her pen name. I asked my sister if she minded, especially since she likes to write, too. She was glad to let me use it.

My mom chose this name for very specific reason. In her time, female writers were still trying to break barriers. One of my favorite coming-of-age books, “The Outsiders,” was written by S.E. Hinton. Suzy Hinton used her initials to hide the fact that she is female. Similarly, Mary Ann Evans wrote as George Eliot. So my mother chose Cronin because it can be a male or a female’s name. Detzz was her own creation, and she liked it because of the double z’s. She felt that the “zz” combo was catchy.

Maybe using a pen name isn’t a big deal. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But with a writer’s need to be memorable or to have a name that is easy to pronounce, some people really should use a pen name.

Now that you know my reasons, I again ask you: If you use your given name but were given the option for a pen name, what name would you choose? If you already use a pen name, what is it and why?

Look forward to your comments. Keep writing & keep sharing! Cronin Detzz


Novel Writing: Should your protagonist be autobiographical?

My current WIP will have a protagonist partially based on my attitude when I was a teenager. Do you write yourself into your protagonist?

Johnny Reads

Photo Credit: Cinderella in Combat Boots

I’ve written extensively about the fact that my protagonist from my first book is me. He’s more funny and probably smarter, but he’s still me. I’ve also read blog posts and articles in the past that say the practice of creating a fictional character who takes after the author is not all that uncommon, especially when it comes to first books. Two authors who come to mind when I think of this practice are Sue Grafton and JK Rowling. Sue Grafton and her fictional California-based PI are one in the same. I believe, though I’m not checking right this second, that JK Rowling and Harry Potter share a birthday.

My reasoning for doing this had only to do with the fact that I felt it would make the story better. I wanted to put myself in Andrew’s shoes every step of the way during…

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Dr. Watson, I Presume? The Importance of Killer Sidekicks

My current work in progress utilizes a child, bright and full of questions, to draw out story facts – a form of a sidekick. The post below does a great job explaining the vital role of sidekicks, especially in serials. Keep writing & keep sharing!

Writers In The Storm Blog

by Susan Spann, @SusanSpann

Sherlock Holmes, mystery, writingWhether you write detective fiction, romance, historical novels or fantasy epics, a lone protagonist never receives as great a reaction as one with a well-developed supporting cast.

Foils serve to reinforce and highlight the hero’s good (and bad) characteristics, and also give the protagonist a chance to shine outside the primary narrative.

Although a “sidekick” isn’t mandatory, a strong secondary character improves many stories in several important ways:

1. Introducing an Alternate Point of View.

Sidekicks rarely agree with everything the protagonist does, and often have a radically different worldview. This gives the author a chance to present alternative theories, new opinions, and thoughts that the protagonist or hero might not propose on his (or her) own.

A sidekick proves especially effective where the sidekick has a different gender, religion, or race than the protagonist. In addition to adding great diversity to your fiction (and forcing…

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