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Shaka

The Fear

There is no easy way to begin.

I'm still sore, but it's faded from OH MY @#$% THE PAIN to a dull ache, the way muscles feel three days after an intense workout. It hurts, but it's the kind of pain that afterwards, you feel better overall. And maybe it sounds silly that I was hurting that much, but I was. I felt a bit sick, more than a little angry (at the situation, not the people involved), and something akin to grief.

Before I continue, I should probably explain ...

Back in 2008, I became afraid. I had a new manuscript I'd started working on, and a new job. In many ways, it was a new life. And so even though I had this blog, I realized how much safer I would feel writing under a pen name. So I abandoned this journal, bought a domain name, and set up a fresh Livejournal. Friends were encouraging. They all agreed that Moira Young sounded like an awesome name to use.

How did I come up with the name in the first place? Simple: because, upon giving my name, on several occasions people heard "Moira" instead of Laura. "Young" was just at random; I realize now that I had a teacher in high school with the last name, but it was a nice, clean, single syllable that seemed to fit.

The whole idea of using a pen name was reaffirmed when I was at at the PAX 2009 Q&A. Gabe and Tycho were asked how they felt about being known for their nicknames, rather than their real names. They both said it was fantastic. Recently, when I asked him, a bestselling published author agreed: he writes under a pen name and it helps him separate his personal life from his professional life.

So I was in a pretty happy place. Last year, I even began actively blogging under Moira Young, after being encouraged to do so. I started tweeting under the name and using it actively. There's even a fantasy writing book coming out where I contributed "one or more comments or questions" (more on that later) and I'm credited under that name. I was enjoying myself. I was happy, working away at my YA fantsy novel.

Fast forward to about five days ago. I got a message from an author I respect, asking if I was the author of BLOOD RED ROAD.

... wait, what?

Turns out there is another Moira Young. Whose YA dystopian novel is coming out in June.

*swallows*

As more than a few people have said, what are the chances?

I've said this elsewhere, but at this point, I need to make myself clear: I mean this "real" Moira Young absolutely no ill will, and I wish her the best. It is in no way her fault, nor could I possibly think to blame her. But it would be unfair and dishonest to myself if I said I wasn't feeling hurt by the situation. I'd devoted so much time and energy to Moira Young, and then I felt like everything had been taken away from me.

If you've been following my moirayoung blog, you'll know that this is how I react to bad news, whether it's a bad critique, or something like this. Give me a moment to get over it (and rage and curse and maybe even cry a little), and then I'll try to make it work.

Just ... y'know, let me process it first.

This makes me realize some truths: that in a lot of ways, I was hiding. I was too scared to be myself on the Internet. As someone who spent her formative adult decade (ages 16 to 25, a.k.a. "the emo years") growing up on the web, I'd been through all of the hurtful Internet melodrama countless times. I wanted that fresh start.

I didn't want to be Laura Taylor anymore.

This past week, I was agonizing over what to do with my name. What should I do? Something I'd spent the last few years working on, pouring my heart into, was lost in an instant. How could I even complain? The "real" Moira Young is the published one, and I'm still working on it. Do I even deserve to feel hurt by this?

Every single person I spoke to said that L.S. Taylor seemed to be the best choice. What's hilarious is that I already had the domain (lstaylor.ca) and this old blog already set up.

So, here I am.

I can't say for certain whether or not this will be my "official" pen name; I'm beyond making a decision until I finish editing my WIP and getting an agent. That's kinda the most importaint part here. But to keep blogging and posting as Moira Young would just feel false, and I'm too Canadian to want to step on anyone's toes. And since this was already here ...

Well, who knows? Maybe this was meant to be.

Comments

New Year, New Name

User moirayoung referenced to your post from New Year, New Name saying: [...] anymore. If you're interested in still following me, I can be found blogging away at . More there. [...]
You must have such mixed feelings about all this! Having developed an alternate identity and then having it stripped away has to be so unsettling. As I mentioned before, I know the comfort of anonymity that a pseudonym gives, but I've come the full circle back to feeling more honest writing as "me". I hope you soon feel confident about your new choice. The important thing isn't so much the name you use for your writing, but that you get the writing done and into the world. Its quality isn't dependent on the name under which it's written.

Happy New Year to you, and happy writing!
I think I do feel confident, at this point, Carol. The only "uncertainty" in the mix is that maybe, when that time comes, L.S. Taylor won't cut it. Maybe it'll be Laura Sheana Taylor or something else.

I do have that feeling of having come full circle. I can pinpoint events that propelled me to the pen name, and now I've been propelled back. It's made me think about Authentic Self. This may have just been a lesson along the path.
You are, of course, completely, completely allowed to be angry at the situation. I would be too if another writer named Catherine Duthie poked her head out of the sand. (As it is, I'm often asked if I'm connected with Duthie's Books, but that might go away now that they've closed.)

I think you're handling things well and you've chosen a good alternate. I agree that L.S. Taylor will look wonderful on a cover.

Bonus -- you no longer have to refer to yourself in the third person, like Jay Clarke/Michael Slade recommended. That seems so creepy to me.
Thanks, Catherine. Yeah, I'm feeling a little better, and a whole lot stronger, just being myself now.

(And I always *did* feel a bit weird referring to myself in the third person! To each their own, I guess.)
Maybe it really was meant to be.... Still, it sounds like you've been through the wringer emotionally on this one. I hope you come to feel really good and positive about the outcome. Here's to "L.S. Taylor" finding much success in 2011! :)
Thank you, Shari!

You're absolutely right — I did feel pulled through the wringer with this. I'm definitely feeling a lot better about the whole situation now. It's funny how things work out.

Speaking of which, I'm going to get back to work now ... ;)
I can only imagine your shock when you learned this. We all need time to process the curves that life sends our ways. Many times what feels devastating at the time ends up being a blessing in disguise.

Laura,

"A blessing in disguise" - That's *exactly* what it's beginning to feel like. :)
Reading this, I was reminded again of what a blow it was when I first saw that someone had published a book by same title I'd been using for years. I felt so...sideswiped.

But it worked out for the best. Maybe it will for you, too!
I hope so, Jagi. At this point, I'm just trying to stay positive and focus on getting the manuscript written.

I read that other book, and its two sequels, years ago and it wasn't my thing. In my head I did remember the other title, but that hasn't stopped me from buying a copy of yours. I really like the premise ... just have to attack my TBR shelf!
I read it, too. As you said about the other Moira Young, I never blamed the other author. How could she have known?

L. S. Taylor is cool, too...many really great authors use their initials. ;-)
Im loving Laura Taylor even more :)
Thank you, Shelli. :)