Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Writers Craft Online: Pseudonyms

Most publications don't like to write articles unless they can state the real names of the people they interview.  Why?  Because otherwise we'll be accused of making it all up.  So it's real names, and pictures.

However, very occasionally there is an exception.  A while ago I interviewed a lady whose husband abandoned her and her child.  This woman needs to be anonymous as her husband is a vindictive type.  As her story is super special, and can help lots of women, we said OK to the pseudonym and no pictures.

So, when I'm talking to her, I suggest she picks a false name for her and her kid.  She leaves it up to me.  As it turns out, this is a big mistake.  Out of the thousands of names about, I pick one that happens to be that of her sister.

Lesson learned? Always make the subject pick the pseudonym!


~CovertOperations78~ said...

Oh dear! It must have been awkward for the both of you when you found out. I always try to pick pseudonyms that don't allow the reader to guess the subject's ethnicity. Which means we end up choosing Western/Christian names like "Daniel", "Jen" or "Nora", cos it could be anyone from any of the ethnic groups in Malaysia!

Keiko said...

Oh... what a coincidence! That would have to be one in a million!

Pam said...

How weird. That's like a one in million chance that would happen.