Death of a Pen Name

I’ve been on the internet since the early 90s. I remember dial-up modems on my family’s Macintosh Performa, the Geocities revolution and MIDI music formats. And I remember accessing all of those sites with made-up usernames. It was simply the thing to do. From “rapturous_heart” in my early teens to “tokyoshorty” in my early twenties, monikers were simply the name of the game.

And then I started writing.

I have a confession to make. I gave a lot of excuses for using the androgynous “Alex Hurst.” I was worried about my personal security. I was worried about what friends and family might think of my writing, and if they would extrapolate every little defect of personality of the characters in my stories as some sort of deliberate condemnation (for the record, I do not write people I know into my works.) Another reason I went with a unisex name was the trends suggested that in SFF, female authors simply weren’t taken as seriously, and initialed or male-sounding names provided a passive opportunity to get rid of that bias. That’s not really true anymore. Diversity in fiction still has a long way to go, but there is so much support and celebration now that it would be silly to continue using a unisex name just for that reason.

This month (as most of you know), I started a masters course in Publishing at Simon Fraser University. At a social put on by the faculty the first week, John Maxwell and others talked about how they’d had a hard time trying to find “Alex Hurst” in the auditorium during orientation. I’d been blogging about MPub for months, but not under my real name. They were able to figure out that the initials were the same as my real name (AH). But then John asked me something else that solidified a feeling I’d been having for months:

When you start doing your academic writing, what name will you go by?

It was a simple question with a difficult answer. For a few years now my use of Alex Hurst was eroding within my design business (as I met most of my clients through Facebook friends), and then as a volunteer for Kyoto Journal. But that question made me realize something crucial: I want to be able to put my name on my work.

It’s as simple as that. I love my name. I always have. It’s unique, it carries with it a history that I treasure, and it’s me. And I’m tired of juggling the online persona that is really just me hiding, and my real life, where I am confident, free to express myself how I please, and not confuse people to death with a double-sided business card.

So, without further ado, let me introduce myself to you all officially.

Hello, my name is Ariel Hudnall.

It’s pronounced R•E•L Hud•NALL, though I don’t get angry when people say Airy•elle. 

Everything in my bio is true. I was born in Louisiana and lived near a golden river for most of my young childhood until my family packed up and moved to California. I have a ton of siblings, though the count changes depending on who I decide to count (complicated family histories will not be discussed at this point in time, haha).

I’ve lived on the road for a year, in Kyoto for six years, and am now puttering about in Vancouver as an academic.

So, no more Alex Hurst. Forgive me while all of my social media slowly goes through the motions necessary to reflect this massive change.

Thank you!

Examples of the Sage Archetype Jung

Archetypes: Sage

All the books in all the world could not contain all there is to know.

Benevolent mentors and custodians of wisdom are some of the hallmark characters of fantasy. Part mystic, part genius, the Sage is an essential driver of the Hero’s Journey, delegating the task of changing the world to their often younger, more naive and eager fellows. The Sage differs from the Creator in that they do not always use their knowledge to change the world, and very rarely do they desire to create something new––in this, the Sage might be closer to the Explorer. While the Explorer’s goals are outward, the Sage’s are inward.

As I have mentioned in prior posts in this series, this collection of posts deals with the archetypes first put forth by psychiatrist Carl Jung, and the use of these archetypes in fiction. Every post deals with the motivations, character profiles, and Shadows (or negatives) of each archetype. This week we continue looking at the group known as the Soul types, which are defined by goals related to personal development, or agendas that serve to improve their spiritual, mental, or physical standing with the world. The Sage, driven by a need for knowledge, is next.



 The Sage

The Sage is an archetype that is most commonly used in fantasy.

Also known as the scholar, expert, detective, thinker, teacher, mentor, savant, and philosopher, the Sage seeks to understand the world in analytical ways, processing reality with logic and the wisdom of their often long life.

The Sage seeks nothing but the truth. Whether that truth is uncomfortable or heart-rendering, it will be accepted, as the only meaningful path in life is one that pursues truth.

Personal truth based on falsehood is one of the great fears of the Sage, and so they are always questioning what they know to be true. This eagerness to find contradiction sometimes leads the Sage to be misled, or even manipulated by others who are aware of their weakness. In addition, the Sage can be addicted to learning, spending so much time pouring over books and information that they never actively engage in the threat facing their world. One of the most easily recognized representations of this fault is Morla, the giant turtle from the Neverending Story, who is so trapped by her knowledge that she will not even pull herself out of the mud she is in, even to help save her world.


The Sage, being one of the pillars the Hero can depend on, is not easily corruptible. Though the Sage can function in ignorance, when the wool is removed, they often more easily accept that change than the other archetypes. But a shadow Sage is not impossible. A Sage surrounded by profound ignorance may become fed up with such an unenlightened world, and would be happily engage in its political, religious, moral, and spiritual sabotage. A Sage can also become overly criticalimpractical, or even unsympathetic to those not on their intellectual plane. Due to the nature of genius, a Sage may also become addicted to mind-numbing substances.


Enter Gallery Mode for Captions

Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:

Archetypes-InnocentArchetypes-everypersonArchetypes-HeroArchetypes-CaregiverArchetypes-ExplorerJester Archetypes Jungian archetypes in fictionArchetypes-OutlawArchetypes-THELOVERCreator Archetype Inventor Jung

A reminder that I am still taking address for New Years postcards from Japan! If you’d like a New Years postcard from Japan with a personalized message, I’m offering postcards to anyone who signs up for newsletter at the following link. I will NOT use your mail address for anything else besides this event. My newsletter is merely a weekly bulletin letting you know if I’ve posted anything you might want to come back and read.



This Business of Books: A Review

This Business of Books, Claudia SuzanneTitle: This Business of Books
Author: Claudia Suzanne
Publisher: WC Publishing
Year: 2004, 4th Edition

4.5 Stars


When I first became interested in publishing in 2010, I picked up This Business of Books in an effort to learn more about all aspects of the industry. I wasn’t disappointed. At the time, much of the terminology and processes involved in getting a book from conception to shelf were new to me, and Suzanne’s clear, concise writing style really helped to illuminate an (at times) overwhelmingly complex system.

Five years later, a second read-through still offered great insights, even though I now have the terminology memorized. Though aspects of this book are obviously out-of-date (no mention of ePub or Mobi as ebook formats, for example), the breadth of knowledge Suzanne puts into her overview is invaluable.

What you can expect inside

Appropriately, Suzanne’s book is arranged chronologically, offering advice and tips for every stage of development for fiction and nonfiction, information sources (such as newsletters to stay “in-the-loop”), editing practices, how to avoid scams, and, perhaps most importantly, what to expect from each stage of the process, especially if you are an author.


1. A Touch of Reality 

Suzanne starts her book off with the numbers, and the reality of the business: that it is a long, hard slog for all those involved, especially the author, regardless of what format, or what avenue he chooses to publish in.

2. Welcome to the 21st Century

“Time was, only those that had a “calling: sat down to tackle the arduous task of writing a book. Their reasons for setting pen to paper were varied and heartfelt: To communicate. To chronicle their times. To preserve their heritage. To share a story or advance an idea or prove a point. To touch other human beings. To have an impact on society. To leave their mark on the world. To make some money.”

This chapter focuses on the allure of self-publishing, where your book could be published “with the click of a mouse,” but might never perform well because of ignorance. Specifically, Suzanne writes about the “Wheat & Chaff,” and how an author who plans to self-publish needs to understand the ebb-and-flow of the trade market and the different types of authors (ghostwriters, for example), appreciate the difference between nonfiction and fiction skill sets, and how all the reading in the world can not adequately prepare someone to do, with the very apt analogy of a medical-drama fanatic still not knowing how to perform open heart surgery.

3. Concept

Write what you know. Know your audience. Theme. Category. Type. This chapter focuses on the early stages of a book, interestingly pointing out that genre, and audience, should be decided before pen is ever put to paper. I particularly appreciated the proper definition of “Write what you know,” which Suzanne admits has been repeated so many times the advice has become asinine. She also talks about books that are created on assignment, or when a publisher hires a Professional Book Writer to fill a slot in their catalogue.

4. Writing

Rather than spend a large chunk of her book talking about how a book can be written, Suzanne instead lays out a wonderful set of “laws” an author should aspire to when writing. I leave only the bullet points for you here:

• Know Your Craft
• Write to Communicate
• Write With Honesty
• Be Original
• Write With Courage
• Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
• Honor Commitments
• Respect Confidences
• Be Honest About Yourself
• Be Honest With Yourself
• Cultivate Literacy

5. Nonfiction

Though I don’t write nonfiction, this section was still useful for me, as it offered new ideas for the planning stage of a novel. Suzanne writes about how to plan, expand, conduct interviews, and rewrite the initial draft.

6. Fiction

“Fiction is significantly more intricate and frustrating than nonfiction. Perhaps the most difficult part of crafting a first novel involves coming to terms with two harsh realities: 1) a sequence of events is not a plot and 2) characters who do not expose themselves beyond their immediate actions within that plot are one-dimensional.”

There is a vast amount of information in this chapter pertaining to outlining, developing characters, and the first draft, but the sections that I really enjoyed pertained to the finer aspects of creative writing: action, dialogue, description, exposition, pacing, point of view, perspective, as well as the negative points of author intrusion, fact stuffing, adverbs (though sometimes they are okay to use!). Suzanne’s section, Show and Tell Simplified, will likely bring a lot of relief to people who have been struggling to get a concrete definition of the term.

7. Editing

loved this chapter. Not only does Suzanne go into great detail into the types of editors and how their jobs differ, she makes salient points about how an author can or cannot self edit their manuscript. Most importantly, she talks about finding editors that are a right fit for your book, and don’t stringently hold onto academic grammar rules, disregarding author voice, pacing, or creative license. She gives a great workflow for editing checks (looking at text order and flow first, but typographical errors last, for example), shows how the passive voice is not ALWAYS a sin (many classic books have passive sentences as their opening lines), verb tenses as they relate to fiction, and how to look out for intrusive editing.

8. Submissions

This chapter deals with submissions for both nonfiction and fiction books. I enjoyed the angle of showing the submissions process from the agent’s perspective, showing the sheer enormity of what they are dealing with.

“One well-known agency kept track in 1997 and found that at the end of the year, it had received 3,064 query letters. That’s over 255 letters every month, almost 60 letters per week. That’s a lot of mail over and above actual business. Yet, in a clear indication of this business’s reality, the agents only asked to see about a dozen of those manuscripts, less than one-half percent.”

This book was written in 2007, and at the time, the ballpark figure of circulating manuscripts to agents was around 6,000,000. I’m sure it’s grown quite a bit since then, even with the boom of self-publishing. Suzanne does a great job parsing down all of the elements of a strong submission, and author-agent etiquette.

9. Publishing

This chapter was as wonderful as the rest, but painfully outdated (hence the .5 star reduction on the review). Suzanne goes over the stages of Acquisitions, Prepress, and Production, as well as digital book development (not yet at the stage at her writing to mention ePub or Kindle), the major publishers and their imprints (before the Random House/Penguin merger), royalties and advances, contract negotiations (an excellent section!), and self-publishing. She also mentions vanity/subsidy publishing, which, as ever, is to be avoided.

10. The Process

The Process is the final stages of book development: the proofread, book design, title and price selection, and various other elements that publishers must complete before sale. Her arguments for higher-but-not-too-high pricing, and the value of a good cover and interior design are spot-on. These things haven’t changed all that much in the last decade.

11. Going to Market

This chapter will likely be of more interest to small publishers or people who wish to go into publishing in the future (like me), but there are some good tidbits for indie authors as well, including how to increase your chances of getting carried at a library or book store, what to include in a press kit, and traditional techniques for publicizing a release. I also enjoyed the definitions of the different editions and printings of a book, and the binding options at a printing press.


This needs no explanation, but it’s a useful guide, all the same.

Links & Resources

I loved this. I used it to find about ten new daily newsletters for the publishing industry, so I can stay informed on changes as they happen. There are also resources for authors and publishers looking to join alliances or associations.

All in all, this remains one of my favorite books on the publishing industry, even though it needs an update. It is concise, running only 220 pages, and can be read in a day. During my first read, I highlighted several passages––in my second reading, I highlighted many more.

If you are an author or publisher, this book is worth the purchase. It is a fantastic resource.


Archetypes: Lover

There is strength in intimacy; divinity in love, and no archetype wields this power more skillfully than the Lover: aptly named, often misunderstood.

This archetype brings to mind the great romances, playboys, and jilted lovers of the world’s story tapestry, but they are not limited to passionate affections. The Lover presides over all love: familial, religious, cultural, romantic, peaceful. The Lover desires their anima and animus to be united, in whatever form that might be.

As I have mentioned in prior posts in this series, this collection of posts deals with the archetypes first put forth by psychiatrist Carl Jung, and the use of these archetypes in fiction. Every post deals with the motivations, character profiles, and Shadows (or negatives) of each archetype. This week we are continuing the group known as the Soul types, which are defined by goals related to personal development, or agendas that serve to improve their spiritual, mental, or physical standing with the world. The Lover, driven by a need for soul-rendering bliss, is this week’s archetype. In addition to being a Soul type, it is often grouped with three other archetypes (Magician, Ruler, Warrior) to constitute what has been termed the Mature Masculine types. See my post on the Anima & Animus to learn more about the gender-denomination of the archetypes.



 The Lover

Sometimes known as the friend, partner, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, or team-builder, the Lover is all about creating lasting, meaningful relationships. They thrive in situations that bring them closer to the things they love.

The Lover performs best under mutually-beneficial arrangements. They are no stranger to dedication and commitment, will show appreciation and gratitude for others without being prompted, and are quickest to (excuse the cliches) wear their heart on their sleeve and view the world through rose-tinted glasses.

They are terrified of being alone. Getting excluded from the group, not having their passions reciprocated or even acknowledged are some of the greatest fears for the Lover, who usually has such a narrow, precise goal that anything less than bliss will leave them broken-hearted. The Lover rarely recovers from this sort of loss.

The Lover’s shadow can take many forms. As a chameleon, thy can risk losing their own self-identity in trying to remake themselves into the image their desired wishes, or can grow so bitter over their failure that they will obstruct the path of their scorning love, or naive people who remind them of their former, innocent passion. The shadow side of the Lover is also one of the most dangerous, as he can not be reasoned with. There is no life for the Lover after loss of love, and many times, they are willing to take many down with them in a final, fitting end. They can also have commitment problems, objectify their desire, and become addicts in the pursuit of recreating the instigating emotion.


Enter Gallery Mode for Captions

Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:


Archetypes: Outlaw

Rules are made to be broken, and without those at the ready to test the status quo, they never would be.

The Outlaw, or Rebel, is a fiction favorite, striding through their worlds with a confidence bordering on arrogance and shaking the foundations their society has always known — often doing so with little to no help at all from those around them.

They speak to a base human desire to break free of the rules and constraints of regular life. Take ten minutes to listen to any radio station: the message is loud and clear. Pop, Rock n’ Roll, and Punk have all gotten their popularity by settling in the heart of the listener, and make them feel the blood of the Rebel pumping through their veins.



 The Outlaw

Also known as the rebel, revolutionary, iconoclast, and misfit, the Outlaw is the archetype that lives for revolution.

The Outlaw, though often motivated by a need to better the world through somewhat questionable means, can also have a desire for revenge against atrocities committed against her.

Independent and radical, the Outlaw employs outrageous or disruptive, shocking habits to shake those they interact with out of complacency.

Though the Outlaw can also be a strong advocate for change, the methods they often employ to get the attention of their oppressor can be outright dangerous or misguided. They can also be dogmatic about their own perspective, and outcast those who do not fit their definition of “good,” thus repeating the cycle of society they are trying to break out of. It is not uncommon for them to turn to crime that harms innocent people on the sidelines, and in the process, lose their way, as well as their sense of morality. They often alienate their friends or those who would otherwise support them.


Enter Gallery Mode for Captions

Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series: