Friday, March 25, 2011

What's in a name?

As a non-English language person (yes, I am from Romania - you might have heard of it since it's inside Transylvania - that's not even true!), it's hard to write English fiction under your real name - hard, not impossible. Mainly because people can't pronounce it. And sometimes can't even read it. Especially when it contains letters like ş, ţ, ă, î or â - how many people know how to read those?

Take my name for example:

My first name is Ioana - how would you pronounce it? Probably along the lines of I-wanna. Not too bad, but it's actually E - wanna. :)

My middle name is Ştefana - there's already a problem there since it has an evil ş in there. ş is basically sh - but that doesn't work the problem of pronunciation out, does it? It's reads something like: Shteh-pha-nah.

My last name is Pristavu - I can't teach anyone how to pronounce this in writing (something like Pri-stah-voo).

And even so, there's the accent of the syllables, and the the fact that I can't actually spell my name like that on the cover of a book. Therefore, a pen name is in order.
As you all know, Stephanie Jones was my first choice - but I came up with it when I was 10. See a problem here? Plus, it's very common - and if I'm going to be a writer, I want an uncommon name, so that people can recognize me.

And here's how mature I usually am 
  My reasoning when choosing my name was simple (simple ten-year-old logic): it's not my real name, so let's use that middle name no one calls me by - so, I'm Stephanie (and I really don't mind - I've been called Steph face to face and it worked great. I actually   answer to it if I'm called:))
Jones was a combination of my first name - which translates as Johanna and the fact that my last name, even at home, is distinctive  - and I wanted a non-distinctive one. So, Jones it was.

 Meanwhile, I grew up (yes, it unfortunately happens to the best of  us) and it suddenly dawned to me that it's not working (since I  share the name with a photographer, other authors and miss teen  USA).

Change, change, change

And I came up with this:

I'm keeping Stephanie - I grew too fond of it over the years and I like the sound of it. Plus, it really is my name :) Though, I consider spelling is Stefanie.(make it even more standing out)

Jones will turn into Johanna which will turn into Jo which will turn into a J (I actually like the middle letter there :) Plus, I've been told I have a thing for the letter J)

And here comes the huge change - I'm putting my family name there - well, not the real one, but one pretty close to it anyway. So Pristavu = Pristty

My first choice was Pritty, but I think I like it with the S there as well - closer to the real thing. Plus, you can find Pritty as a case against the UK at the European Court of Human Rights.

So, here are my two/four choices:

Stephanie J Pristty    vs   Stephanie J Pritty

Stefanie J Pristty       vs   Stefanie J Pritty

Or, of course, I could always go for S. J. Pritty/Pristty - but I'd rather have my full first name there (so that people would know I'm not a dude:p)

What do you guys think? Which works best for you/looks nicer on paper/are more likely to remember? I'll take your votes to heart, and it might even influence my decision.

For the last time, I sign myself as Stephanie Jones :)


  1. Bummer, Steph! I really like Stephanie Jones. It fits you. Stephanie Pritty is the best out of the four you have, but it doesn't seem like you really like it. Therefore, I don't really either. What about Stefanie Jones? I didn't find that in Amazon for US, though I'm not sure about where you are. I don't think it matters if the name is common as long as the spelling is different.

  2. I kinda like Stephanie (or Stefanie) Jones too. Out of your narrowed choices, I like Stephanie Pritty the best.

    Did you try another variation of your surname? Like Pristavar? Or Pristali?

  3. Wow, I had no idea people actually liked my name. That's pretty flattering! Thanks you guys!

    @Mysti: I have, but that was the only one I felt comfortable with - I don't want to sound too foreign, or I'd have kept my real name O:) It's all about trying to pronounce it. I can actually pronounce your last suggestion in English with ease, but it sounds Italian (and I have a deep, personal reason not to want that)
    Thanks for the suggestions. You're awesome :)

  4. I also like your name, the vowels feel nice to say. Out of your choices I like Stefanie J Pristty the best.

  5. Hiya!

    I am going to cheat and vote for something not on the list: Stefani Pristavu. It is easy enough to pronounce ( I think, that is. I am going with Pri-STAH-voo when I say it) and I think that combination sounds exotic (!) enough to attract attention. I know if I were walking along the shelf and saw that as the author name, I would stop and at least check the title and cover art.

    The surname is what you were deriving from anyway, so bonus!

    Does this mean your blog address has to change? (stefacrosstheborder? Or would you do something like mine and just get the name?)

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents, plus a whole lot more that you didn't even ask for! :^P


  6. Ok, I'm banging my hand against my head. I din't know Stephanie Jones wasn't your real name. I guess I just never thought about it, but now I'm having a "shoulda had a V8" moment. Oh well. I like Stephanie Jones, but if your going to change, I'm going with the what the commenter above me said. Stefani Pristavu, but I like "Stephanie" better than Stefani. That's just me, so feel free to ignore.

  7. Hmmm...

    Stephanie has an obvious pronunciation, where as Stefani has a couple options. Either STEF-ah-nee (same as the other spelling) or stef-AH-nee. Potentially confusing, I *suppose*...

    I still stick with my vote, though!


  8. I like Stefani - makes it more distinctive.

    I don't have a problem with Pristavu. As soon as I saw it I "heard" Pri-stah-voo, but I'm European and quite used to surnames in many different languages. So my vote would be Stefani Pristavu.

    But, of the choices you offered, I guess Stefani Pristty would get my vote.

    Just to throw in another curve ball, when you ware talking about deriving the "J" from the surname, I thought you were about to stop at Stefanie J, which I thought would be attractively idiosyncratic.

  9. Talk about coincidence. You're the second writer/blogger that I follow who's been talking about names and pen names for writers. :)
    by the way, if you don't mind, I have an award for you on my blog:

  10. Really? You don't mind my real name? Wow! I might just stick with it then. Thanks!
    You guys are awesome. You have no idea how thankful I am for all your suggestions and support through this. It's going to be hard leaving Stephanie Jones behind, but I think it's something that must be done. And you're all being so helpful.

    @Akoss - Thanks for the award, very much. Sorry I was an idiot and couldn't pick it up myself. What are the rules for it? How do I pass it on?

  11. Hey Steph! I guess I never really thought about Stephanie Jones not being your real name o.O lol
    Anyway, of the choices, I'd say either Stefanie Pristty or Stephanie Pristty. I still like your old name, though :P but that's just cuz I'm used to it, and if you feel like you need to change it, then go for it! lol


  12. Thanks Anna!

    Everyone, I pretty much made up my mind. I've already updated the name of my choice on CC and I will be blogging about it when I do my next post. :)

    I still welcome suggestion

  13. Hey Steph :) Ooh, can't wait to see what you chose! I definitely agree with jandrewjansen, though I'd go the Stephanie spelling with that. It sounds gorgeously exotic, and I doubt many people will have trouble with the last name (if you're not too bothered with pronounciation). The spelling of the first name with an "f" will forever lead to you being called "Stephanie" anyway I'd think, so I'd say go with that one :)

    Will pop back soon to find out ;)



  14. If I might cast my vote... Stephanie J. Pristty

  15. Typically, I'm all behind, and am commenting about a month and a half after everyone else, but hey ho!

    Just wanted to say that I think your real name is lovely. I've been calling you Steph since that first critique, and never realised it wasn't your "regular" name, if that makes sense.

    Thanks for the pronunciation lesson too - very helpful. Incidentally, I love the spelling of "Stefanie" - makes it special.

  16. Thanks Coral! As you already know from my CC profile, I've already updated my name and now am in the process of growing to love it :D


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