Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is a Pen Name a Nickname?

Unlike the other Fictionistas, I've never really had a nickname.

Lots of people get nicknames as a diminutive of their first name. Not me. "Amanda Brice" is actually my pen name, Amanda being my real-life middle name. And my real first name (Heather) isn't really conducive to nicknames, either by shortening it or cuteseyfying it. (Yes, I made that word up. Deal with it.)

Others get their nicknames because they're involved in sports. I never was. Sure, I'm a diehard sports fan now, since college, but I was a total girly-girl in my earlier days. And dancers don't really give each other nicknames. *shrugs*

The closest thing I've ever had to a nickname was in junior high, when my friend Amy started jokingly calling me Swan. It was a reference to the fact that I was way into dance (ie, Swan Lake), but wasn't exactly complimentary. Rather, it came from the fact that she thought that sometimes I would get way too emotional, and throw a hissy fit like a little primadonna. She called that my "dying swan act."

Yeah, nice, huh? Fortunately, it didn't stick.

So I guess the only nickname I've really ever had is Amanda. This came about when I had traveled with my high school French class to France and Switzerland over Spring Break junior year. We were over there for 2 weeks, 6 days of which were spent living with families in Nice, in the south of France.

The family I lived with couldn't pronounce my real name to save their lives. So, fed up with the butchering of my name, eventually I gave up and suggested that they call me Amanda. Ah-mahn-dah was much nicer sounder than Ee-zair, so it just stuck.

Fast forward almost 4 years, to when I spent a semester in college studying at the Sorbonne. I just went straight to using my middle name that semester, and eventually got used to answering to it.

So when it came time to choose a pen name, Amanda was the obvious choice.

So I guess that's my nickname, if a pen name counts.


  1. My pen name is a derivative of the same name my non-writing name is from.
    I go by Wendy outside of writing, Gwen as a writer--and both come from Gwendolyn.

  2. Nice--that makes sense...

  3. My first name is a derivative of my real first name, my last name is my mother's middle name.

  4. I think we should give you a nickname then. I smell a contest!

  5. OMG I love the idea, Kristen.

    I vote for Schmoopie.

  6. Let's call her Mandy!