A is for …Ariel. Nice to meet you. What is in a name?

Yay! It is day one of the A-Z challenge.
A is for Ariel. That’s me. And the question for today is: What is in a name?
My name, meaning Lion of God, has always served me well, except for maybe when that pesky Disney mermaid stole it. When the cartoon came out I was 13 and I did not want to be associated with a mermaid princess. However, when I got married, my name became Ariel Swan and it seems the mermaid princess thing was inevitable. Though I am neither a mermaid nor a princess, people do tend to live up to their names. I think Lion suits my personality well.
But what is in a name for writers? Why do writers choose pen names? Is there a benefit to having your name start with a certain letter? I remember reading, though I can’t find it again now, that the most frequent starting letters for bestselling authors’ last names fall between M and S. Do you think this is true?
And what about character names? A character’s name can define his or her personality and existence. Sometimes I choose them for meaning, especially main characters. (This post could also be A for Alice Towne, my MC). But secondary characters, I sometimes pick at random.
What about book titles? Certainly much lies in the name of a book. It sets the tone, it implies plot, it creates mood.
So: What do you think is in a name? Introduce yourself and your work too, if it suits you.
For fun, you can try the Lulu Title Scorer to get an idea of how your WIPs title might fare. DISTILLATION  scores a 63% chance. I’m happy with that. I wish they had an author name scorer too.

14 thoughts on “A is for …Ariel. Nice to meet you. What is in a name?

  1. Great post! I use a pen name I pretty much plucked out of the air after playing with GoDaddy to see what was and wasn't available as a dot com. The Lulu title analyzer was discouraging as it only gave my forthcoming novel a 10% to 26% chance of being a bestseller. Oh well. My title was never negotiable so it is what it is, I guess. Still fun to play with. My YA novel fared much better though it's changed a zillion times already. LOL

  2. What a fabulous way to start off this challenge, Ariel. I think your name sounds lovely. I didn't know that about bestselling authors' names. How interesting. My last name of my pen name starts with a G, but my married name–which I also write under–starts with M. Hmmm..Most of my characters' names just come to me. If I try to change their names, it doesn't work, so I guess I better listen to them.Thanks for visiting Books, Products and More!Cheryl

  3. I love the name Ariel, and yes, it's because The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite animated films ever–sorry! :)I too have read that bit about bestselling writers with names between 'M' and 'S'. I think it's because alphabetically they end up stacked around eye level in a bookstore. Perhaps with the booming popularity of ebooks this may no longer be the case.I use a pen name because my real name is hard to spell, pronounce and remember. My pen name comprises the initials of my name and my married surname. I had great fun naming my characters in ORACLE (I love one-word book titles!). My MC is Kurt Lancer. Kurt means "wolf", and Lancer is well, a person with a lance. So he's got a pretty macho name. 😉

  4. Thanks for sharing with us the meaning of your name, Ariel. My husband and I made sure to give our son a name with personal meaning. I was named after a popular soap opera star.

  5. Great post to start the challenge. I work at a public library, I'm not at work right now but thinking about the fiction shelves I think there's also a lot of best selling authors whose last name starts with C and F.

  6. Thanks Susan – what a lovely meaning for your name. And, I actually did not know that one had to decode the word for my blog. I am going to try and fix that right now.

  7. Just a post script: it would be nice if you could disable the jumbled word confirmation/spam captcha. Those are difficult for many people (me)!

  8. Such a sweet name, and then Disney swiped it! Susan: white lily, pure, flameSusan Eisenhower was born in 1950s, and the name was popular. "Susie" was assigned to me.

  9. Thanks for commenting. Mina – The Lulu scorer is like anything else – all funand games, but hey why not. lostinthecovers – it is interesting how people choose different names. I think it makes sense. Especially if one of their genres doesn't mix with the other.Nel – Maybe I did think it was the end of the world – but I loved mermaids then and I do now – so it didn't affect me for long. Thanks everyone for stopping by.

  10. What an interesting post! And I can just imagine being 13 and the Disney movie coming out and stealing your name. You probably felt it was the end of the world. lol. until next time…nel

  11. I find it interesting how authors who write two different genres go under different names. The name gets associated with one genre and instead of disappointing or confusing readers, they just start a different one. Great post!

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