Coming up with your Nom de Plume

There are various reasons why a writer might decide to go by a pen-name or nom de plume. Numerous female writers wrote under male-pseudonyms because their narratives did not fit the gender norms of their time, such as George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans.

George Orwell created his for Down & Out in Paris & London because it described him living in poverty and he didn’t want to embarrass his family, and Neruda’s father disapproved of his poetry.

But another main reason is simply that a writer wants a name that stands out more than their given name does – like a stage name. They may even want to take it up a notch and create a second persona, comparable to when my Dad drinks, puts on a mullet wig and insists we all call him Uncle Neil.

So if you’re currently struggling to come up with a nom de plume that will create a buzz I’ve devised a method you’re welcome to use (unless you’re writing a book on hardware, in which case you have an obligation to make your pen-name ‘Hammertime’).

1. The first letter of your name

A = Pope
B = Josiah
C = Horace
D = Elijah
E = Saint
F = Valter
G = Vector
H = Erasmus
I = Phineas
J = Falk
K = Hercules
L = Anton
M = Cassius
N = Calvin
O = Thaddeus
P = Sven
Q = Chad
R = Ludvig
S = Sage
T = Virgil
U = Axel
V = Chester
W = Augustus
X = Luna
Y = Roger
Z = Dorian

2. Your month of birth (optional: this is to add a bit of a cool reputation to your second persona)

January = ‘wants no scrub’
February = ‘dolphin tramp stamp’
March = ‘squirrel army’
April = ‘hooks for hands’
May = ‘hips don’t lie’
June = ‘boycotting pants’
July = ‘the mud wrestler’
August = ‘power-ranger’
September = ‘duck-face’
October = ‘ghostbuster’
November = ‘Bond Villain’
December = ‘the booty shaker’

3. Your Middle Name

A = Cursive
B = Hawk
C= Latin
D = Potter
E = Beret
F = Absinthe
G = Existential
H = Grammar
I = Dante
J = Beowulf
K = Leather-bound
L = Finch
M = Codex
N = Font
O = Big-Words
P = Vermouth
Q = Index
R = Page
S = Seuss
T = Wilde
U = Sartre
V = Copperplate
W = Rat-king
X = Turtle-neck
Y = Speedo
Z = Sans Script

(So for instance mine is Saint ‘power-ranger’ Beowulf)

Or alternatively you can use some of these Simpson themed ones
• Dr. Colossus
• Joey Jo Junior Shabadoo
• Guy Incognito
• Zombie Shakespeare
• Any of the Moe prank call names


Roald Dahl baddies ranked in order of evilness

8. Mr & Mrs Twit – The Twits 


In comparison to the rest of this list they’re fairly harmless. Their main crimes were torturing each other, looking gross, and attempting to make a bird pie. They weren’t the brightest given they managed to get themselves glued head first to the floor, and lost the battle between man versus bird; but you have to admire their elaborate prank ideas – the funny stick is pure genius and would take commitment.

This was my second favourite Roald Dahl book growing up, mainly for the bit where Mr Twit ties Mrs Twit to some balloons to get rid of her.

7. Boggis, Bunce, & Bean – Fantastic Mr Fox  

In fairness, even though they do look gross, they’re just trying to protect their farms.

6. The Enormous Crocodile

In fairness kids can be annoying sometimes

5.  The Evil Giants – The BFG

The BFG was my favourite; and as an adult I like the idea that my weird dreams are simply the result of a giant outside the window with a trumpet (as opposed to reflecting a very odd sub-conscious). Anyway, the evil giants ate humans every night and bullied the BFG for being nice. I didn’t put them higher up on the evil scale though cause they’re all living in a pit now, forced to eat snozzcumber – they’ve suffered for their crimes.

4. Mr & Mrs Wormwood – Matilda 


Mr and Mrs Wormwood are horrible people and neglectful parents who don’t even like their daughter. Mr Wormwood runs a crooked car dealership – and as a bookworm, Mrs Wormwood’s line “you chose books, I chose looks” cuts me to the core . The only ‘nice’ thing they did for Matilda was let Miss Honey adopt her, and its pretty cold that they weren’t phased by giving her away.

3. Grand High Witch – The Witches

When I first read this book as a child it scared me so much. Dead-set, for a while I was on the lookout for the signals (wearing gloves? I’m on to you!!!). The Grand High Witch, and Witches in general, go out in disguise and steal and kill children. And their motive is just that kids piss them off. I mean at least the Enormous Crocodile didn’t try and disguise himself, he was all ‘what you get is what you see’.

2. Aunt Spiker & Aunt Sponge – James & the Giant Peach

Poor James has to live with these two for three years before they’re thankfully left ‘as flat & thin & lifeless as a couple of paper dolls’ after a peach accident. They’ve made second place because James isn’t allowed off the hill to talk to anyone else, they abuse him and they threaten to lock him in the cellar for a week.

1. Mrs Trunchbull – Matilda

Even as a child, I remember first reading Matilda and thinking, I don’t think that’s legal, have they tried calling child welfare?

How did Mrs Trunchbull get a job in teaching in the first place? She has such a raw hatred for children, I would’ve loved to see her try and bluff her way through that job interview. Or was she originally really nice then teaching broke her spirit?

Her list of evil doings throughout Matilda include: grabbing children by the hair, and swinging a little girl by her pigtails because she hates pigtails, force-feeding Bruce Bogtrotter cake in front of an assembly, throwing children out the window for eating in class, locking children in a narrow cupboard called ‘the chokey’, most likely killing Miss Honey’s Dad, was a terrible guardian to Miss Honey after her parents died and stole all Miss Honey’s inheritance.


(say what you will about Agatha though, but its nice in this picture to see a teacher feeling enriched by their job)


Ranking of who were the shittiest parents in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory 

5. Mr & Mrs Bucket


They’re good parents and all, who are trying their best even though they don’t have a lot. But am I the only one who questioned their choice of guardian for this day long trip to the chocolate factory? Grandpa Joe  has been bedridden for years, and he’s not even taking a cane on this trip which will involve a lot of walking.

4. Mr & Mrs Gloop

Mrs Gloop has a very poor understanding of nutrition, seen in this quote ‘Its all vitamins anyway’.

3. Mr & Mrs Teevee

I can’t get too judgy, I binge watch a lot of shows. Mike is an obnoxious shit though, and it probably wasn’t the best idea to just stand around while he shrunk himself.

2. Mr & Mrs Salt

I’m sure spoiling Veruca came from a place of love but it has gotten a bit out of hand, nobody needs that many pets. And Veruca is a shit name to give your child.

1. Mr & Mrs  Beauregarde

I don’t have kids so I don’t want to get too preachy here, but if your child has been chewing on the same bit of gum for three months straight, you should really encourage them to throw out that bit of gum. Also Mr & Mrs Beauregarde heard Mr Wonka repeatedly say the his gum wasn’t ready before Violet tried it.

Simpson Quotes that would make good autobiography titles

  • My mom says I’m cool
  • If somethings hard to do than it’s not worth doing
  • Well excuse me for having enormous flaws that I don’t work on
  • Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand
  • I do what I feel like
  • Lord help me I’m just not that bright
  • I tried my best, and I failed miserably. The lesson is, never try
  • I wash myself with a rag on a stick
  • Everyone is stupid except me
  • Why, why must life be so hard?
  • I’m not popular enough to be different
  • I’m just going to die lonely and ugly and dead
  • Why am I such a loser? Why?
  • Grease me up woman
  • Everything looks bad if you remember it
  • If you need me I’ll be in the refrigerator
  • Alcohol is a way of life, alcohol is my way of life
  • It takes two to lie – one to lie and one to listen
  • The legend of the dog faced woman
  • A thousand monkeys working on a thousand typewriters
  • The man you trusted isn’t wavy gravy at all
  • Feeling stupid? I know I am
  • I’m a stupid moron, with an ugly face and a big butt and my butt smells and I like to kiss my own butt
  • The magical man from happy land! In a gum drop house on lollipop lane
  • Can I borrow a feeling?
  • Can I come too?
  • One trick is to tell them stories that don’t go anywhere
  • I am so great! I am so great! Everybody loves me. I am so great!
  • Past instances where I professed to like you were fraudulent
  • Stupid risks make life worth living
  • Sexy Results


Seriously though if your name is Bart you do have an obligation to name your autobiography ‘Give it up for Bang, Bang Bart’

Also I call dibs on ‘Legend of the Dog Faced Woman’

Valuable Life Lessons from Elaine Benes

I figure because Seinfeld beauty, Elaine Benes, worked in publishing, this is a good enough excuse to list some of the gems she’s taught me over the years. I wanna show my reverence for this gorgeous babe with the wall of hair – and prove that all those hours watching Seinfeld were definitely not a waste of time (how can they be if I got an education from it, right?!). [Also that cover photo is the David Puddy statue I have on my bedside table– yes I’m that kind of fan: ‘you gotta question? you ask the eight ball’]

  1. How to dance like a diamond
  2. The importance of making sure your nipple isn’t exposed on your Christmas card
  3. If somebody cannot spare a square when you’ve run out of toilet paper its very important to get your revenge
  4. Pez dispensers are funny as fuck
  5. War & Peace was not originally going to be called ‘War what is it good for?’
  6. The importance of being sponge-worthy
  7. The top of the muffin is the best bit
  8. If someone doesn’t offer you pie you should dump them
  9. If you’re trying to keep a secret don’t drink peach schnapps
  10. The Urban Sombrero is the height of fashion
  11. Sometimes being described as ‘breathtaking’ isn’t a good thing
  12. Everyone in the city should wear nametags
  13. If someone doesn’t use explanation points you should dump them
  14. Don’t buy jujyfruits on the way to the hospital
  15. To be very suspicious if a man says he has to be ‘up early’
  16. If you don’t like someone’s toupee throw it out the window
  17. It’s really hard to talk to someone if they have a goutier
  18. If you’re trying to avoid talking to a taxi driver don’t pretend to be deaf cause they might catch you hearing

Seriously though, in my opinion she was one of the best written female characters in comedy. She’s also a bit of a style icon to me and I love how ballsy she was, how if she had an opinion she was never afraid to say it loudly, and in all honesty a small part of me was inspired to study publishing in the first place to be a bit more like her.


Childhood Book drinking games

[No, I’m not suggesting you try these while you’re babysitting]

The Magic School Bus

  1. Drink every time you admire Miss Frizzle’s bold fashion choices (she truly was the Lady Gaga of the education scene)
  2. Drink if you begin to think about the permission slip system at this school
  3. Drink whenever you learn a fun fact
  4. Drink whenever the class finds themselves in a jam
  5. Drink whenever the bus shifts into something


  1. Drink whenever there is clear favouritism towards Madeline (yes I’m talking about you Miss Clavel)
  2. Drink whenever the phrase ‘two straight lines’ is used
  3. Drink anytime you see a Paris landmark
  4. Anytime when Madeline disobeys the rules (such a little shit, she needs boundaries Miss Clavel, get your shit together!)
  5. Anytime Pepito is a dick (if you’re reading Madeline and the Bad Hat)
  6. Anytime the girls brush their teeth and go to bed

Green Eggs & Ham

  1. Drink whenever he refuses to eat some lovely green eggs and ham
  2. Drink if you admire him for not bowing down to peer pressure
  3. Drink whenever a word rhyming with ‘ham’ or ‘them’ appears
  4. Drink if you begin to wonder if location of food makes it more palatable
  5.  Drink if you wonder why Sam is so adamant that he tries green eggs and ham. Has he done something to that dish? Like spiked it with laxatives for a laugh?
  6. Drink whenever a different mode of transport is mentioned

Peter Rabbit

  1. Drink whenever you judge Peter’s decision to go into Mr Megregors garden
  2. Drink if you begin wondering why all the rabbits in this book are walking on two legs
  3. Drink if you begin wondering why Mr Megregor would want to hurt a rabbit who wears clothes?

There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake

  1. Drink whenever the Hippopotamus stays on the roof and eats some lovely cake

Caps for Sale


  1. Drink every time the main character wears many a cap
  2. Drink every time the word ‘cap’ is used

[Even though it’s not a book, there’s also the Mr Squiggle drinking game where you have to drink every time the picture he draws is a bit shit.]


Poetry quotes that perfectly sum up getting your heart shat on

So sometimes in life you’ll find yourself falling for a person and basically they’re a complete fool who has shit taste and they break your heart. But look don’t worry, there are loads of poets who know and share your pain. Here are some quotes to read in the grieving period, while you’re crying into a KFC bargain bucket and putting tinder back on your phone.

His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung
..and drown the wakeful anguish of the soul
Ode on Melancholy, John Keats

I keep on dying,
Because I love to live
The Lesson, Maya Angelou

I won’t telephone him. I’ll never telephone him again as long as I live. He’ll rot in hell, before I’ll call him up. You don’t have to give me strength, God; I have it myself. If he wanted me, he could get me. He knows where I am. He knows I’m waiting here. He’s so sure of me, so sure. I wonder why they hate you, as soon as they are sure of you – A Telephone Call, Dorothy Parker

And why with you, my love, my lord,
Am I spectacularly bored,
Yet do you up and leave me – then
I scream to have you back again?
On Being a Woman, Dorothy Parker

And all I loved, I loved alone.
Alone, Edgar Allan Poe

I thought I was not alone, walking here by the shore,
But the one I thought was with me, as now I walk by the shore,
As I lean and look through the glimmering light—that one has utterly disappeared,
And those appear that perplex me.
I Thought I Was Not Alone, Walt Whitman

With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
The More Loving One, W.H Auden

And pleasures flow so thick and fast
Upon his heart, that he at last
Must needs express his love’s excess
With words of unmeant bitterness
Chistabel, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Since my young days of passion – joy, or pain
Perchance my heart and harp have lost a string
– IV Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Lord Byron

When we two parted
In silence and tears
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss:
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this
– I When We Two Parted, Lord Byron

In secret we met –
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee! –
With silence and tears
– IV When We Two Parted, Lord Byron

So we’ll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Thought my heart is still as loving,
And the moon is still as bright,
– I So We’ll Go No More A Roving, Lord Byron

When hearts have once mingled
Love first leaves the well-built nest;
The weak one is singled
To endure what it once possessed
Lines: ‘When the lamp is shattered’, Percy Shelley

She weeps alone for pleasures not to be;
Sorely she wept until the night came on,
And then, instead of love, O Misery
– XXX Isabella, Keats

Shakespeare Time 

….since why I love I can allege no cause – Sonnet XLIX

At yet, love knows, it is a greater grief
To bear love’s wrong than hate’s known injury – sonnet XL

Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give:
That due of many now is thine alone:
Their images I loved I view in thee
And thou, all they, hast all the all of me – XXXI

Thy proud heart’s slave
And vassal wretch to be:
Only my plague thus far I count my gain
That she makes me sin awards me pain. – CXLI

When to the sessions of sweet silence thought
I summon up remembrance of things past
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought
And with old woes new wail my dear times – XXX