->''"For several years I lived on the proceeds of the three novels I wrote as Edgar Box. ''The New York Times'' lavished praise on Box; then, years later, when I published all three in a single volume, confessing to their authorship, the ''Times'' retracted its three good reviews [[CausticCritic to give me a bad one.]]"''\\
--'''Creator/GoreVidal''', ''Palimpsest''

A Pen Name (also known as a pseudonym or "nom de plume" if you want to sound fancy) is a made-up name a writer or artist (in the case of performers, this is called a [[StageNames Stage Name]]) produces works under for whatever reason. Often due to RuleOfCool, but other reasons also abound. In the case of famous actors / people, it's sometimes a way to find out whether or not they'd be succesful even without their star power attached to it. Many writers have used a fictional name in order to avoid the typecasting associated with their name and particular genres, allowing them to write outside the expected genre that they've become well known for. Some manga creators use a pen name to avoid legal difficulties due to rules of their regular employment (school teachers and civil servants in Japan are often forbidden from pursuing other sources of income and it could be scandalous if a high school teacher was also a mangaka). A pseudonym may be used to protect the writer for exposé books about espionage or crime. Many female writers have used male pen names when writing in a male-dominated genre, and male writers have used female-sounding pen names when writing in a female-dominated genre, due to public expectations or the avoidance of potential scandal.

Supertrope of MoustacheDePlume and SameFaceDifferentName, so please don't repeat those examples here.

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!!Examples:

* Apollo C. Vermouth (PaulMcCartney)
* Andrew Clements (Hanne Turk)
* [[TheWotch Anne Onymous]] (not yet revealed)
* B. Traven (not yet revealed, assumed to have been Ret Marut or Otto Feige). Virtually every detail of Traven's life has been disputed and hotly debated.
* BillBailey (Mark Bailey; he named himself after the wartime song "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey")
* Boz (Charles Dickens, in his first works)
* [[TemplarArizona C. Spike Trotman]] (not yet revealed)
* Creator/CaptainGerBear (Geremy Walker)
* Carter Dickson (Creator/JohnDicksonCarr--also used his own name).
* Cecil Adams may or may not be the pen name of Ed Zotti. (As Ed has remarked, he finds it amusing that so many people question Cecil Adams' name but never his own.)
* [[Literature/EdgarAndEllen Charles Ogden]] (various authors)
* Claymore J. Flapdoodle (PhilFoglio on cards with his art in the MagicTheGathering joke set ''Unglued'')
* Cordwainer Smith (Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger)
* Cordwainer Bird (Creator/HarlanEllison; a ShoutOut to the above, reserved for "AlanSmithee" situations where he feels that ExecutiveMeddling messed his contribution beyond repair)
* Count Dante (John Keehan)
* DarrenShan (Darren O'Shaunnessy)
* Ding Ling (Jiang Bingzhi)
* [[Creator/QuanticDream David Cage]] (David De Gruttola)
* [[JohnDiesAtTheEnd David Wong]] (Jason Pargin)
* e. o. plauen (Erich Ohser when he produced ''Vater und Sohn'')
* Edogawa Rampo was born Hirai Tarō. He chose his pen name because it sounded like Edgar Allan Poe (RuleOfCool).
* Emily Rodda (Jennifer Rowe)
* [[Literature/TheSavannahReidMysteries G.A. McKevett]] (Sonja Massie)
* George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)
* Creator/GeorgeOrwell (Eric Blair)
* George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin de Francueil)
* Gerald Wiley (Ronnie Barker)
* Creator/{{Herge}} (Georges Remi)
* Creator/IsaacAsimov is actually an [[InvertedTrope inversion]]. Many assumed it was an exotic pen name for a sci-fi author, but it was his actual name.
* JackKirby (Jacob Kurtzberg)
* Jack Yeovil (Creator/KimNewman)
* Jean Paul (Jean Paul Friedrich Richter)
* J. E. Mand ("S. O. Meone") (Duke Charles of Mecklenburg-Strelitz as playwright)
* JinYong (Louis Cha)
* Joachim Ringelnatz (Hans Bötticher)
* John Twelve Hawks (as of yet unknown)
* Creator/JosephConrad (Józef Teodor Nalecz Konrad Korzeniowski)
* Kenny Everett (Maurice Cole)
* Kim Harrison (Dawn Cook)
* [[ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents Lemony Snicket]] (Daniel Handler)
* Creator/LewisCarroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
* [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] (Lewis Lovhaug. Lewis used it as a pen name for his childhood novels. It soon was used as a log in name for his written reviews and finally became, well, Linkara.)
* Creator/{{Loriot}} (Vicco von Bülow)
* Marc Bolan (Marc Feld)
* Creator/MarkTwain (Samuel Clemens)
* Creator/{{Moliere}} (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) (also a [[StageNames stage name]])
* Morris (Maurice De Bevere)
* N.W. Clerk (Creator/CSLewis)
* Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Jane Cochran)
* Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg)
* Ogure Ito uses the pen name 'Creator/OhGreat' because his real name Ogure Ito is roughly how the Japanese pronounce "oh great".
* O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)
* Orlando M. Pilchard (Nick Pelling, UsefulNotes/BBCMicro programmer)
* Creator/OsamuTezuka uses the nickname ''Osamushi'', which is the Japanese name of a beetle; he writes it like ''Osamu'' + ''mushi'' ('insect').
* [[Creator/ShirowMasamune Masamune Shirow]], possibly born Ota Masanori; he has never published under his real name and it's still not confirmed. He began creating manga while a high school teacher; so he's very cautious with his privacy. He never appears in public, and forbids photographs.
* Paul French (Creator/IsaacAsimov)
* Philalethes (King John of Saxony)
* Professor Hoffmann (Angelo John Lewis)
* Pseudonymous Bosch (Raphael Simon)
* ComicStrip/{{Quino}} (Joaquín Salvador Lavado)
* Richard Bachman (Creator/StephenKing)
* [[Music/TheBeatles Ringo Starr]] (Richard Starkey)
* {{Rius}} (Eduardo del Río)
* Shotaro Onodera whose earlier pen name, Ishimori, was due to an editor's error in 1959 but changed in 1986 to Shotaro Ishinomori.
* Creator/{{Saki}} (Hector Hugh Munro)
* Silence Dogood (Benjamin Franklin)
* StanLee (Stanley Martin Lieber)
* Creator/{{Stendhal}} (Henri Beyle)
* S. W. Erndase -- a person wrote ''The Expert at the Card Table'' under this name in the early 1900s. The author's true identity remains a [[RiddleForTheAges mystery]] to this day.
* [[Creator/ThatAmericanSlacker ThatAmericanSlacker]] (Miles Krohn)
* Creator/{{ThatPersonYouMightKnow}} (not yet revealed)
* Vic Reeves (Jim Moir)
* Creator/{{Voltaire}} (Francois Marie Arouet)
* Possibly Creator/WilliamShakespeare, according to several (unproven) theories.
* Dr. Winston O'Boogie (JohnLennon)
* Wolfman Jack (Bob Smith)
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!!Sometimes one person uses multiple pen names:
* Anson [=MacDonald=], Caleb Saunders, John Riverside, Leslie Keith, Lyle Monroe (Creator/RobertAHeinlein)
* Ampe R. Sand / Dave Ahl Jr. / Zarf (Andrew Plotkin)
* Anne Desclos, writer of ''Histoire d'O'' (Story of O), used the pseudonym Pauline Réage. Under another pen name for most of her novels, she was Dominique Aury (known for a demure, intellectual, and almost prudish persona).
* Anne Rice, Anne Rampling, A.N. Roquelaure (Howard Allen O'Brien, Rice by marriage) [[note]]No transgendering involved - she was just ''named after her father'' (her mother thought it was a nice idea). Nobody has called her "Howard" since her first day at school, when she decided to call herself "Anne".[[/note]]
* Ashida Kim, Christopher Hunter, and possibly Dr. HaHa Lung (Radford W. Davis)
* Brian O'Nolan used the pen names Flann O'Brien and Myles na gCopaleen for his novels and journalistic writing because Irish civil servants were not allowed at that time to publish works under their own names.
* Buronson (the name chosen both due to RuleOfCool and as a tribute to the American actor Charles Bronson, whose mustache he imitated), also known as Fumimura Shō, was born as Yoshiyuki Okamura.
* [[Creator/DrSeuss Dr. Seuss]], Theo. [=LeSieg=] (Theodor Seuss Geisel)
* David Gordon, Lou Tabakow, Ivar Jorgenson, Darrel T. Langart , Jonathan Blake [=MacKenzie=], S. M. Tenneshaw, and Gordon Aghill, Randall Garrett ([[Creator/RandallGarrett Randall Phillip Garrett]])
* David Osborne, Calvin M. Nox (Creator/RobertSilverberg)
* Ignaz Wrobel, [[ShoutOut Kaspar Hauser]], Peter Panter, Theobald Tiger (Kurt Tucholsky)
** The German writer used four pseudonyms while working on ''Die Weltbühne'' so his name would not appear so often on the index, assigning different styles to his four alter egos. Theobald Tiger wrote only in verse, Peter Panter general satires, Ignaz Wrobel acerbic, hard-hitting stuff, and Kaspar Hauser on the lines of "this world is crazy".
* James Tiptree, Jr., Raccoona Sheldon (Alice Bradley Sheldon)
* Creator/JKRowling, Robert Galbraith (Joanne Rowling).
* Kawashita Mizuki used to draw shoujo (teenage girls) manga under the pen name Momokuri Mikan but changed to Kawashita Mizuki later on when she started writing romance manga.
* Creator/JohnWyndham, John Beynon and Lucas Parkes (John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris)
* Creator/{{Moebius}}, Gir (Jean Giraud)
* Robert Jordan, Reagan O'Neil (James Oliver Rigney Jr.)
* Robin Hobb, Megan Lindholm (Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden)
* Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Samuel Holt(DonaldWestlake)
* Pat Murphy wrote There and Back Again under the pseudonym of Max Merriwell. She wrote Wild Angel under the name Mary Maxwell, which was supposed to be Max Merriwell writing under a pen name. In Adventures in Space and Time With Max Merriwell (written under her real name) Max Merriwell meets his pen names on a cruise.
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!!Sometimes two or more people use one pen name:
* ElleryQueen (Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky)
* [[Literature/JohnPutnamThatcher Emma Lathen]] (Mary Jane Latsis and Martha Hennisart)
* ErinHunter is the pen name of five authors of ''Literature/WarriorCats'', ''SeekerBears'' and ''Literature/{{Survivors}}'' (Victoria Holmes, Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Tui Sutherland, and Gillian Philip).
* Grant Naylor (Rob Grant and Doug Naylor)
* Creator/FujikoFujio (Hiroshi Fujimoto, who has since passed away, and Motoo Abiko)
* Franklin W. Dixon, writer of TheHardyBoys
* Carolyn Keene, writer of NancyDrew
* Kozma Prutkov (A.K.Tolstoy and Zhemchuzhnikov Brothers)
* Publius, author of the Federalist Papers, was three Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.
* Michael Slade, pen name of two Canadian lawyers whose thrillers pit the Mounties against serial killers
* LA Graf, a pen name used by Julia Ecklar and Karen Rose Cercone for their collaborative works in the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' [[StarTrekNovelVerse Novel Verse]], as well as one ''Series/AlienNation'' novel. (The name stands for "Let's All Get Rich And Famous.")
* Robert Randall (Creator/RobertSilverberg and Creator/RandallGarrett)
* Many pulp and paperback publishers used "house pseudonyms" so that it would appear that one writer wrote e. g. all stories featuring a certain hero even if they were actually written by a succession of work-for-hire writers. See ExtrudedBookProduct.
** TSR explained that their reason for doing this with the ''TabletopGames/ForgottenRealms'' ''Avatar Trilogy'' (Scott Cecien and Troy Denning under the name Richard Awlinson) and ''TabletopGames/DungeonsAndDragons'' 3rd edition novels (nine authors, including names that could probably shift product to D&D fans on their own, writing as T.H. Lain) was that it ensured the books would all be shelved next to each other in bookstores.
* Owen Hatteras (Creator/HLMencken and George Jean Nathan)
* For ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'', the name "Ponsonby Britt" was used as a pseudonym for Jay Ward and Bill Scott because the network wanted an "executive producer" credit and the two already received "producer" credits.
* ''The Melody Man'', a comedy play which flopped badly on Broadway in 1924, was ascribed to one Herbert Richard Lorenz. Herbert Fields, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart took their last names off the play apparently because they considered that it would become their OldShame.
* Nicolas Bourbaki was the pen name of a group of French mathematicians.
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!!Fictional examples:
* Tim [=McGee=] in ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' writes thrillers under the pen name "Thom E. Gemcity," which is of course an anagram of his real name.
* Strong Bad from ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' once claimed that he writes an advice column for a girls' magazine under the "pseudoname" Cara Carabowditbowdit.
* Anime/{{Monster}}: Franz Bonaparta, Klaus Poppe, Emil Sebe, and Jakub Farobek. All one person.
* ''The X-Files''--Fox Mulder wrote an ''Omni'' article under the name "M.F. Luder."
* ''{{Castle}}'' main character Richard Edgar Castle was born Richard Alexander Rogers.
* MahouSenseiNegima: Haruna Saotome (no relation to that other [[RanmaOneHalf Saotome]]) uses the moniker "Paru".
* Kenji Harima from ''SchoolRumble'' draws manga under the pen name Harima Hario.
* EndersGame: Peter and Valentine Wiggin use the pen names "Locke" and "Demosthenes" (respectively) to write blogs for political discourse. Ender later takes one of his own, "The Speaker for the Dead," to write biographies of his brother, the Hive Queen, and later for one of the pequeninos.
* ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'': Working on the Holonet, Tash Arranda takes the usernames Seeker and Searcher1. A different user puts out stories about the extinct Jedi Knights under the penname [=ForceFlow=]. Even when he meets Tash, he doesn't tell her his real name. [[spoiler: Because he's actually the BigBad.]]
* In ''Film/TheFactsInTheCaseOfMisterHollow,'' the eponymous Johnny Hollow provides a {{Spooky Photograph|s}} to an OccultDetective investigating a MysteryCult. Careful examination of the investigator's other documents reveals that "Hollow" is an [[SueDonym alias]] adopted by Johnathon H. Ollow, a writer for the in-universe newspaper, ''The Greater Toronto Gazette.''
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