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A New Year, A New Pen Name

Updated on November 6, 2013

Reprieve26 becomes Suzie O'Neill

I've been writing for years with limited success under my real name. This November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. The challenge is simple: write a complete novel with a minimum length of 50,000 words within the 30 days of November. I'm proud to announce that I succeeded. By the end of the month I had a completed novel.

However, going into the project I knew that 30 days really isn't a lot of time. I've spent over a year on most of my other books. So, I made the decision to use the project as a way to gain some practice and have a lot of fun. I gave myself permission to be as goofy or silly as I wanted. The resulting story was a lot of fun to write, but not up to my usual standard.

Since November, I've had several friends and family members ask about my novel. The thing is that I don't think that the book would stand a chance if I follow the traditional publishing route. I had a writing friend suggest publishing the book as an e-book. After researching this option, I decided that this would be a good choice for this particular novel. However, I've had other writing friends say that since the book would essentially be self-published, it could negatively affect my chances of getting other stories published through traditional publishers in the future.

After chewing on all of this information and pondering my options, I finally came to a compromise. I decided to publish the book under a pen name. This way I still get to share the book (in e-book format) with the world, but also keep my usual author name untarnished.

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to my new alter-ego: Suzie O'Neill.

Suzie is a new writer that enjoys modern technology and having a good time. She enjoys writing laid back, fun to read stories. Her first e-book, Crossroads: A Novel About Choice, will be available through Smashwords ( in January 2012.

In addition, I've decided to use the pen name, Suzie O'Neill, for all of my future online writing. In the past, I've written articles on HubPages under the name "Reprieve26." I hope that my old fans will continue to follow me under my new name.

Thank you for your support!

While writing, do you use a pen name or your real name?

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    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      My experience is that it depends on the project. Sometimes I start a story but about 10 pages in I know in my gut that the story is finished. Other times, the stories take on a life of their own and become full books. I've learned to follow my instincts when it comes to my writing!

    • Just History profile image

      Just History 5 years ago from England

      Congrats- I dont think my imagination lends itself to write a book- I read plenty though!

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 5 years ago from trailer in the country

      Good luck

    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      Denise Handlon-- I couldn't agree with you more! Yes, NaNoWriMo would be much easier if they chose a less hectic month. I had family in town for a week, a day job, and a head cold this Novemeber. Together, these obstacles made it harder to complete my story within the limited time frame!

      I also agree about the traditional publishing world. It seems to me like there's a lot of "politics" (for lack of better word). The trick is trying to find a way to market our completed stories while working around all of the limitations and stigmas (ie: against self publishing). The way I see it, this new pen name is really refreshing. I can continue to write under my real name and try t o get those pieces published through the traditional methods. But, then I've also got the Suzie pen name. So, I can use her to post the stuff that breaks the rules or my experimental projects (like the "choose your own adventure" e-book).

      poshcofeeco-- Thank you! And thanks for following me under my new name!

      Annette R. Smith-- Thank you! I appreciate the support! :)

    • Annette R. Smith profile image

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hello again! I, too, will gladly follow your work under your new pen name. Congratulations on the novel, and best wishes in all your writing endeavors!

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Welcome back and congratulations on your achievement.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Suzie-thanks for following me; it alerted me to your new information. What an interesting dilemma. It saddens me that to get a book published in a traditional manner one has to NOT use their real name on an ebook publication--makes no sense to me at all.

      I wrote a children's book - in fact it was posted here: and when I sent it in for review was told it was not a children's book because it had no children's characters.

      I thought that was odd, and perhaps my ego is blocking any reasonable logic, but I believe I have actually read more than one children's book that have no children's characters in it.

      My point is-who are these people who dictate the world of publication? I say - kudos to you and congratulations for working through your dilemma.

      I wrote a 'mystery' during the Nano one year-never wrote a mystery in my life before and it was quite good...still unfinished. I ended at 35,000 words. I've always considered Nov. a HORRIBLE month to write for 30 days. Between the oncoming holidays and the existing Thanksgiving w/e holiday, it just is ridiculous. I've queried them afterwards to inquire whether they would consider changing it to a slower, winter doldrums time of the year: aka January or February after all of the holiday hype. Never did get a response back.

      I'll continue to follow you-thanks for the heads up.

    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      As for posting part of the novel on HubPages, I honestly hadn't thought of it until you asked. I'm not sure... maybe!

    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      b. Malin-- Thanks! I appreciate your support!

      B. Leekley-- Most of my writing projects do require a great deal of time and lots of editing and revising. But, going into my NaNo, I knew that 30 days wasn't a lot of time. So, I went into it with the attitude of "let's have some fun." I wrote a "choose your own adventure." Do you remember those? As such, the book was simpler to write in some ways. For instance, I didn't need enough plot to fill an entire novel. Instead, I have a few crucial scenes that play out differently depending on which choices the reader makes.

      It was a really fun story to write because I gave myself free reign to be goofy. I was aiming for a humor, so I have character with names like Plain Jane, Busy Beebe, and John and Cookie Doe.

      I was also given the opportunity to write and re-write different scenes. Normally, if you come to a place in a story where you can't make up your mind about where to go next you're just stuck. In this story, I could write out all of the options.

      Anyway, I could go on and on. I realy loved writing this story. I think the reason why it was easy for me to write it so quickly was because I had a blast writing it. For once, I was able to turn off my internal editor-- the one that tells me that I should be writing the next classic-- and just have fun.

      Writing doesn't get any better than that, does it?

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Hi, Suzie. I've been doing NaNoWriMo for several years and have not come close yet to the goal. This year was my personal best. I made it half way, to slightly past 25,000 words. I'm proud of you for reaching the goal and of my several friends around the country who have also done so.

      The concept of NaNoWriMo is to finish a first draft in 30 days, not to finish a polished work ready to publish. The rest of the year, December through October, is for revising. You're lucky if you are a writer who only needs one or two drafts. I generally need between several and many.

      Will you be putting some chapters from Crossroads on HubPages?

      I'm looking forward to browsing some of your Reprieve26 hubs and to seeing more of your Suzie hubs.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Hi Suzie, I will gladly Follow you once again! Congratulations on the Name Change, and the Novel.