Author Topic: I do not consent to the current ToS which was modified without my consent  (Read 10620 times)  

Offline DarkScribe

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Re: On the topic of Pen Names
« Reply #50 on: June 29, 2018, 10:59:31 pm »
I think that was the issue with Lanyon. She created a fake gay male persona. You may not see any harm in it but when it came out it lost her a lot of fans. Considering the large number of women who write in that genre (for those who don't know, she is mainly known for M/M romantic mysteries), I find the pretense a bit puzzling. She was more hurt by being exposed as having lied than she would have been writing as a woman.

Maybe there is nothing wrong with creating a 'persona' for your pen name, but it's a good idea to be aware that fans can end up angry/offended when it is exposed.
I have a long term close association with a hetero guy who writes as a Lesbian and is very successful with his work. I have sometimes heard him mutter "They'd lynch me if they found out." He does have - and is very close to - a Lesbian sister.

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    Offline Kwrite

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #51 on: June 30, 2018, 05:23:01 am »
    Wow. I guess I never thought this topic could be so controversial. I write under a pen name. I want my writing separate from my professional life. There are people at work that I don't want knowing that I write books. A Google of my real name brings up things in my professional life and I want my books separate from that. What I have not done is create a pen persona. When I post a picture of a cat on social media, it's my cat. My author bio is authentic to the real me. Not all of us using pen names do so with nefarious intentions.

    Offline Evenstar

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #52 on: June 30, 2018, 08:52:07 am »
    If I found out a writer lied about having a cat and was using stock photos I wouldn't think it's the worse crime in the world, but I would much rather prefer to read and support honest authors, and the same is true with other artists and businesses.  I don't think it's necessary to lie to be successful, and I don't like being lied to no matter who it is or how big or small the lie is.  So if I find out someone is being dishonest then I'd rather find another writer's books to read.

    Hmm, I lie about my cat. The cat died and I didn't want to tell my readers because I have posted lots of pictures of my real cat with my books in the past and even written blog posts from his point of view. The cat lives on in my mind ... it doesn't feel dishonest, but I guess it is on the premise above?

    Offline Sam B

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #53 on: June 30, 2018, 09:11:14 am »
    Hmm, I lie about my cat. The cat died and I didn't want to tell my readers because I have posted lots of pictures of my real cat with my books in the past and even written blog posts from his point of view. The cat lives on in my mind ... it doesn't feel dishonest, but I guess it is on the premise above?

    Aww, that's so sad.

    I think they're more talking about making up a cat, though, not failing to disclose a death.

    Offline Evenstar

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #54 on: June 30, 2018, 09:24:06 am »
    Uhh..cuz I'd prefer not to read a book about brain surgery written by a brick layer.

    Maybe not if it was non-fiction. But in fiction... well, we make stuff up for a living!

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #55 on: June 30, 2018, 09:59:33 am »
    Personas are an attempt to have it both ways: Don't give anything away, but get to interact with people as if you're sharing lots of stuff.

    I don't think pen names are unethical in the least. But author personas that are made up of fake facts are meant to deceive other people so that the author can get or maintain a market position for personal financial gain. There's just no reason for them to exist that doesn't hinge on deception for profit.

    (I originally wrote so much more, but decided why bother. The people who do it aren't ever going to see the side of the people who feel deceived by it. It just doesn't mean anything to them.)
    It's no more deception for profit than using a male pen name to write military sci-fi or a female pen name to write romance. Unless the author uses the pen/persona in some other way - to elicit information from readers they wouldn't otherwise give, to ask for donations, etc., there is no harm to the reader. You either enjoy the book you buy or you don't, same as it would be with any other writer's. It's just branding. Companies do this all the time - releasing products under a spin-off company or label with different branding and advertising so it will sell better.

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    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #56 on: June 30, 2018, 10:14:57 am »
    It's no more deception for profit than using a male pen name to write military sci-fi or a female pen name to write romance. Unless the author uses the pen/persona in some other way - to elicit information from readers they wouldn't otherwise give, to ask for donations, etc., there is no harm to the reader. You either enjoy the book you buy or you don't, same as it would be with any other writer's. It's just branding. Companies do this all the time - releasing products under a spin-off company or label with different branding and advertising so it will sell better.
    She's talking about personas, not pen names per se. Big, big difference.

    My own test--would my readers care if they knew? Or, to go back to my gold standard--how would I feel if the truth were published in my hometown newspaper? If my kids knew? If my friends knew? If my mom knew?

    Or, if you're just focused on profit, you can stick with, "would my readers care if they knew?" In romance, at least feel-good romance--you bet. They are interacting with you via your newsletter, via social media, because they feel a connection based on what you write. If I didn't actually have gardens, baby chicks, a sick sister, it would be a huge betrayal, because I write feel-good romance about honorable people. My characters would seem cynically created, and my readers would feel like rubes. They'd feel cheated and lied to. They have given me a wonderful career. What kind of ingrate would I be to betray them like that?

    Everyone will choose for themselves. Perhaps if you write abuse romance, or thrillers of the more conspiratorial sort, your readers will be more cynical. Mine are looking for a cynicism-free zone, and so am I, so that's the path I follow. I know and they know that real life is full of liars. That's why I write books where good guys win.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #57 on: June 30, 2018, 10:35:40 am »
    It is definitely the interaction aspect that does it. But I cannot honestly think of one persona that isn't meant to interact with other people except for maybe Galbraith. And the fact that Galbraith claimed military experience set a lot of people off for reasons other than the interaction issue.
    I personally keep my fan interactions to a minimum. I no longer post my email addresses, and I don't do FB or Twitter or anything like that. I have basic blogs set up for my pen names, but the only posts I do are for new releases, cover reveals, and other announcements of that sort. I do respond to comments on the blogs, but since they are public it keeps the topics mainly related to "When is the next book coming out" type questions. I *love* my fans, and I love it that they're excited about my books, but my books are fiction - they aren't *me* - and I don't feel the need to get involved on a more personal level. I write in genres that I like and I do my very best to write books that readers will like, and I don't really think I owe anyone more than that. YMMV, of course, but that's where I'm coming from with my viewpoint on this. I realize a lot of people operate very differently, and that's where the gray areas start cropping up.

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    Offline cecilia_writer

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #58 on: June 30, 2018, 10:36:05 am »
    I can't say it really bothers me if a man writes under a female pen-name etc. However as someone who uses a pen-name I definitely can't put on a different persona from my real one - I would be too afraid of making a mistake, like a spy behind enemy lines! (Not that the readers are my enemies by any means)

    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #59 on: June 30, 2018, 10:50:35 am »
    KelliWolfe your last post to me sounds like a pen name not a made up persona.

    I listened to a podcast not that long ago where a military science fiction writer had corresponded with one of his readers and named a character after him.  He later found out that the reader had passed away and had been bed ridden for several years and had actually mentioned the writer in his eulogy.

    Two hard core ex-military men who had a genuine connection and where real human connection, along with the books, really did matter and make a difference to both of their lives.

    I really wish people did not screw with readers. At least stop pretending and claiming that it doesn't matter. If it didn't matter then people wouldn't make up personas in the first place.  Making up a fake persona to make people think you are more like them or someone who they will emotionally relate to, elicit sympathy from, etc. is not the same thing as a pen name.   

    It matters and you think it will make you more money.  Own it.


    p.s. "Purely political" - heterosexual marriages are not in legal jeopardy so no reason to get ever get "political"- and yes it very much does relate to pen names and the topic of this thread when people blithely talk about how a-okay it is to masquerade as LGBTQ but they don't face the same consequences in real life.   I guess I'm not supposed to mention a real life political event that just happened and pretend we live in a bubble.  All I did was mention it.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #60 on: June 30, 2018, 11:00:28 am »
    She's talking about personas, not pen names per se. Big, big difference.
    I know exactly what she's talking about, and saying that you have a cat or that you live on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in your bio is no more deceptive or harmful than creating a pen name of a different sex. It's branding. It doesn't cause any harm to the reader. Claiming to be a male in order to sell military sci-fi books doesn't harm the reader. Claiming to be a doctor or nutritionist in order to sell diet books could harm the reader, so there's a difference. But readers' personal feelings of bias, prejudice, or distaste are not our problem. Those are their issues to deal with, not ours. If those issues didn't exist, the vast majority of us wouldn't need to create pen names and personas to write under in the first place.

    Of course pens and personas can be used in unethical ways. But as with anything else, it's the person behind them that's behaving unethically. It doesn't mean that there's anything inherently wrong with either.

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    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #61 on: June 30, 2018, 11:11:52 am »
    I know exactly what she's talking about, and saying that you have a cat or that you live on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in your bio is no more deceptive or harmful than creating a pen name of a different sex. It's branding. It doesn't cause any harm to the reader. Claiming to be a male in order to sell military sci-fi books doesn't harm the reader. Claiming to be a doctor or nutritionist in order to sell diet books could harm the reader, so there's a difference. But readers' personal feelings of bias, prejudice, or distaste are not our problem. Those are their issues to deal with, not ours. If those issues didn't exist, the vast majority of us wouldn't need to create pen names and personas to write under in the first place.

    Of course pens and personas can be used in unethical ways. But as with anything else, it's the person behind them that's behaving unethically. It doesn't mean that there's anything inherently wrong with either.
    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I think lying and betrayal causes emotional harm, causes a person to trust less, to view the world more cynically. That's damaging. Sure, there's a scale. Pen names do not fall on that scale, even if they're pen names of the opposite sex (personally I would go gender-neutral, though, or initials, because I don't like lying even in that sense). Once you start interacting as that person, though--specifically leading a reader to believe you are male/female, you're lying.

    I also think lying hurts the liar's soul, for that matter, but the people who are lied to matter more.

    Offline boba1823

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #62 on: June 30, 2018, 11:28:14 am »
    Here's the way I look at it:

    My readers are my customers. The defining element of our relationship is that I create products, fictional books, that they purchase (and hopefully enjoy).

    If I deceive them about my product, then I'm not behaving ethically. For fiction books, the potential for concern in this area is significantly lower than it is for many other products - particularly since readers can preview a decent portion of a book in advance, to ensure that it meets their expectations for quality and the like. There are some ways one might deceive readers about the book itself, of course: presenting a short story as if is a full-length novel (by manipulating the displayed page count), etc. These are things I wouldn't do, and don't think other people should do either.

    As for the identity, background, personal history and so forth of the individual who wrote the book - these are not things that should matter. In an ideal world, a work of fiction would be judged on its own merits; readers would not reject a book because of the author's gender, race, sexual orientation, whatever. It isn't fair to judge a work of fiction based on such facts about the author - though that does not necessarily make it unreasonable, at least in our less-than-ideal world.

    In any case, because a person cannot truly know anything about a work of fiction just by virtue of knowing various categories/groups in which the author fits, the author's persona is essentially irrelevant to the product itself. So I don't have any particular qualms about presenting readers with a fictionalized persona, especially when the persona is a good match with what readers are likely to expect - based on their prior experiences and/or personal biases - of an author who writes the kind of book that is in question.




    Offline R.U. Writing

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #63 on: June 30, 2018, 01:21:01 pm »
    But in fiction... well, we make stuff up for a living!

    Exactly.

    When someone writes a work of fiction, they have NO obligation to get their facts right. They can describe CPR anyway they want to, mangle police procedure, or invent new traits for vampires. The readers will decide whether or not they want more realism in their fiction and purchase accordingly. Because the entire work of fiction is a lie, I see no problem if the name is a lie too.

    In nonfiction, however, you are publishing under the assumption that you are a purveyor of "truth." A pen name to hide your identity is fine if you deal with delicate subject matter or whatever, but you darn better well have some experience in what you are writing about.

    If you are a fiction or nonfiction author who befriends your readers and interacts with them on a personal level, then I think you have an obligation to be who you say you are, or else risk the consequences of being deceptive. I certainly wouldn't want my friends lying to me about who they are.

    Offline OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #64 on: June 30, 2018, 02:06:09 pm »
    If you believe lying is bad then it's a pretty simple equation.

    Pen name = lie.

    Everything else is just fluff. For me the fact is that I work damn hard at writing and I won't write something I'm ashamed of. I also won't lie to my customers, more than that I'm not going to lie to people. You know that's what customers are, right? People, brothers, lovers, sisters, mothers, etc, if you wouldn't lie to someone on the street than you probably shouldn't lie to someone about your art.

    I don't get how that's difficult. No one likes being lied to, everyone feels that sense of betrayal when they're faced with the truth. And yet we think because it's business that it excuses the betrayal. Sorry, but life isn't that way. You still lied to them to make a buck. You betrayed the common bond that existed between you. You might have had good reasons but you still lied to get over them. Lying is always the easy answer, but it's rarely the right one.

    Creating a persona is just an extension of that lie. Do you enjoy it when people make up stories about who they are? Are you a fan of online dating or forum's in general where it seems truth is the one thing no one is selling? Or do you hold yourself to a higher standard, one that believes what's right is worth doing?

    For me I vote with my wallet. I don't buy books with obvious pen-name's. I don't feel that starting a relationship with a person who lies to me as hello is a good thing.
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    Offline Kwrite

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #65 on: June 30, 2018, 02:14:32 pm »
    Well, you are entitled to your opinion. I'm sorry it's so harsh since there are valid reasons to write under a pen name. (Note: I didn't say make up a fake persona to go along with that pen name.)

    Offline DarkScribe

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #66 on: June 30, 2018, 03:43:10 pm »
    If you believe lying is bad then it's a pretty simple equation.

    Pen name = lie.

    Everything else is just fluff. For me the fact is that I work damn hard at writing and I won't write something I'm ashamed of. I also won't lie to my customers, more than that I'm not going to lie to people. You know that's what customers are, right? People, brothers, lovers, sisters, mothers, etc, if you wouldn't lie to someone on the street than you probably shouldn't lie to someone about your art.

    I don't get how that's difficult. No one likes being lied to, everyone feels that sense of betrayal when they're faced with the truth. And yet we think because it's business that it excuses the betrayal. Sorry, but life isn't that way. You still lied to them to make a buck. You betrayed the common bond that existed between you. You might have had good reasons but you still lied to get over them. Lying is always the easy answer, but it's rarely the right one.

    Creating a persona is just an extension of that lie. Do you enjoy it when people make up stories about who they are? Are you a fan of online dating or forum's in general where it seems truth is the one thing no one is selling? Or do you hold yourself to a higher standard, one that believes what's right is worth doing?

    For me I vote with my wallet. I don't buy books with obvious pen-name's. I don't feel that starting a relationship with a person who lies to me as hello is a good thing.

    A pen name is NOT a lie. It is a writer's tool. One of many.
    « Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 03:45:37 pm by DarkScribe »

    Offline GPB

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #67 on: June 30, 2018, 03:43:17 pm »
    Claiming to be a male in order to sell military sci-fi books doesn't harm the reader.

    A male pseudonym is fine, and to some extent it constitutes "claiming to be male." On the other hand, creating the persona/bio of a combat veteran in order to sell military sci-fi books is disgusting (IMO). It's stolen valor. Likewise if you create the persona of a member of a marginalized group in order to sell books that would be informed by that experience to readers who live that experience (LGBTQ, POC, etc.).
         

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    Offline Ava Glass

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #68 on: June 30, 2018, 04:30:33 pm »
    I'm actually pretty surprised at the amount of people I've seen say it's unethical to have a persona for a pen name.

    Who are these people? Are they the ones with the straw man factory?  They are never around to speak up for themselves.

    I have to wonder if MyraScott didn't see "persona" in sandysocks' post. Plenty of people have issues with fake personas.

    However, I do know that many straw men get put through a game of telephone and turn into "Kboards hates x" repeated as fact.

    Offline DarkScribe

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #69 on: June 30, 2018, 05:03:21 pm »
    KelliWolfe your last post to me sounds like a pen name not a made up persona.

    I listened to a podcast not that long ago where a military science fiction writer had corresponded with one of his readers and named a character after him.  He later found out that the reader had passed away and had been bed ridden for several years and had actually mentioned the writer in his eulogy.

    Two hard core ex-military men who had a genuine connection and where real human connection, along with the books, really did matter and make a difference to both of their lives.

    I really wish people did not screw with readers. At least stop pretending and claiming that it doesn't matter. If it didn't matter then people wouldn't make up personas in the first place.  Making up a fake persona to make people think you are more like them or someone who they will emotionally relate to, elicit sympathy from, etc. is not the same thing as a pen name.   

    No, false claims re background and pen names are not the same. Currently there is one writer (no names mentioned) who claims to be trial lawyer and writes books with a trial lawyer as his protagonist. It becomes very quickly apparent that he is not a lawyer and has no real clue about law or courtroom procedure. This irritates me. (I'm not a lawyer either, but my early Journalism career involved several years with Police and Courts.) If a false bio didn't intrude into the writer's work - I would have no idea and no objection.

    Offline OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #70 on: June 30, 2018, 05:43:48 pm »
    A pen name is NOT a lie. It is a writer's tool. One of many.

    Ummm... yes it is. By definition. It might also be a tool but it is still a lie. Don't mean to be confrontational but if you say your name is something it's not, then you are lying. If you engage in a deception that mischaracterizes a subject, then you are lying. The one way you might get around this is to announce that you are in fact not using your real name and that this is a pen name. In which case, I as a reader can chose another book.

    We can talk about good lies vs bad lies and whether we believe lying is justified. These are all worthy subjects but the basis of that conversation is what lying is and is not. Until we agree on that we don't really have anything to talk about.
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    Offline MyraScott

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #71 on: June 30, 2018, 06:49:09 pm »
    Ummm... yes it is. By definition. It might also be a tool but it is still a lie. Don't mean to be confrontational but if you say your name is something it's not, then you are lying.

    It's interesting logic.  Do you also not listen to music by anyone who uses a stage name?   I suspect Mr and Mrs Gaga didn't name their little girl Lady. 

    Although I did hear Sir Mix-a-lot inherited his knighthood...
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    Offline OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #72 on: June 30, 2018, 06:59:59 pm »
    It's interesting logic.  Do you also not listen to music by anyone who uses a stage name?   I suspect Mr and Mrs Gaga didn't name their little girl Lady. 

    Although I did hear Sir Mix-a-lot inherited his knighthood...

    That's actually an interesting point. Granted it's put forward as a way to detract from the actual topic and doesn't even remotely address my logic but still a fun tangent. I would put forward that the art forms are different. Singing is far more a performance art than writing. We expect singers to be larger than life and to dazzle us, after all they are the modern gods we live and die by.

    Although the definition still holds, they are lying about their names. However this is deception without teeth as no one thinks those names are real. A far cry from authors trying to gain acceptance into groups they wouldn't' have access or those looking to hide from their own works.

    If you were wanting to extend my logical argument it would need to apply to both lying and books. It's the meeting of these two subjects that is the point of my argument.
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    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #73 on: June 30, 2018, 07:08:39 pm »
    No, false claims re background and pen names are not the same. Currently there is one writer (no names mentioned) who claims to be trial lawyer and writes books with a trial lawyer as his protagonist. It becomes very quickly apparent that he is not a lawyer and has no real clue about law or courtroom procedure. This irritates me. (I'm not a lawyer either, but my early Journalism career involved several years with Police and Courts.) If a false bio didn't intrude into the writer's work - I would have no idea and no objection.

    Yeah, not too bright to try to claim you are a lawyer if you aren't one.  The "secret" will probably not last long.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with someone using a pen name.  Some people do it to separate their work/professional life, for other privacy matters, or they could just have a name that is extremely hard to spell or want a name that matches their genre.  So the name itself doesn't bug me at all.

    Funny talking about stage names.  I was thinking about that earlier today.  One of my grandfather's cousins was Patti Page.  She was a fairly well known singer in the 1950s.  That was her stage name and not her real legal name.  My grandparents always referred to her as Patti even though they grew up with her long before she had her stage name.  When she came to my grandfather's funeral everyone, including my grandmother, called her Patti.  So she had become Patti in real life too.

    My legal name is Julie but the only one that calls me that is my mother.  I much prefer Jules and that is what I always go by. 

    Offline R.U. Writing

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #74 on: June 30, 2018, 07:15:36 pm »
    If you believe lying is bad then it's a pretty simple equation.

    Pen name = lie.

    Everything else is just fluff. For me the fact is that I work damn hard at writing and I won't write something I'm ashamed of. I also won't lie to my customers, more than that I'm not going to lie to people.

    But if you are writing fiction, you are lying to your customers. Fiction is made up. It's a falsehood, told deliberately. Nobody (unless delusional) buys fiction thinking it's true. Nobody (unless delusional) goes to the movies thinking they are real. For fiction, it's inherent in the contract between writer and reader.

    Lying is not universally bad. It all depends on the situation. Sometimes a lie is the most moral course of action.

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