A pseudonym is a fictitious name employed by an individual to conceal their identity. Pseudonyms used by writers are often called pen names.
A pen name may be used if a writer's real name is likely to be confused with the name of another writer or notable individual, or if their real name is deemed to be unsuitable. Authors who write in fiction and non-fiction, or in different genres, may use pen names to avoid confusing their readers, as in the case of mathematician Charles Dodgson, who wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and other works of fantasy under the pen name Lewis Carroll. Among authors of fan fiction, it is not uncommon to employ different pseudonyms when writing fan fiction in different fandoms.
A pseudonym may also be used to hide the identity of the author. Many fan writers prefer to keep their private and fan lives separate, hoping that their fannish activities remain unknown to family, friends, and colleagues who do not share these interests and might misunderstand or disapprove. This is especially true for authors of explicit erotic fan fiction.
- Adapted in part from the Wikipedia article on pseudonyms.