• elenavanpeborgh

Using pen names

"Should I use a pen name or not?" That's one of the first questions a writer asks when they think about publishing their stories. Why should you even use a pen name? Maybe you have another full-time job besides writing and you want to draw a clear line between your writing and your other job. A famous example of this is James Dashner, the author of The Maze Runner series. Well, he doesn't write under a pen name but in his case - his job as banker was something totally different than writing fantasy stories - he could have decided to use a pen name.

You can also use your initials because you want to hide your identity a bit - for same reason as above or maybe something else - or just because it sounds nicer, think of J.K. Rowling and H.P. Lovecraft. Or you can also use a pen name if your name is kind of common or sounds boring, John Smith is probably the most common and most boring sounding name in the world. Or maybe there's some big celebrity with the same name as yours, this can maybe be handy because Google will let your profile show up too when people search their name, but their profiles will be the first results, so yours will be a bit lost at the bottom.

There are also people who write different genres and change their author name when they write another genre. An example of this is J.K. Rowling, she wrote Harry Potter with her initials as her author name but then starting writing mystery under a different name.

I belong to the group of people who have a common and boring name. My last name is the most common last name in my country and when I was born, the name Ellen was the most chosen name that year for girls. Now, how did I choose my pen name? This was easy for me. Ellen is derived from the Greek word helena - think of Helen of Troy here; she was actually called Helena, but for some reason they turned it into Helen in English. You can write the Greek word either as helena or elena in the Latin based alphabet, in Greek it's actually written with an h, but they don't actually write the h at the beginning of a word, they use '. This is how it's written in Greek: 'ελενα. It means bright, shining light/torch. Ellen and Elena aren't much different, cut out an l and add an a to transfer Ellen to Elena and it was the closest to the original Greek word, so I chose for the spelling of Elena.

For my last name I chose my grandma's last name, this for two reasons: 1. she has a very rare last name, which is dying out and it sounds a bit chic because of the Van and 2. when I will be classified in the library, they will still put me with the P - the library doesn't count Van or anything like that to start with for last name, so they will classify me as 'Peborgh, Elena Van' - so I'd be almost in the same spot as with my official last name.

Hope you found my story interesting. How did you choose your pen name if you're a writer? Do you have multiple ones?

Hope to see you soon.

- E.