Ghostwriting


 

 Ghostwriting is the writing of a work,
usually a biography, in someone else’s name.
 

Many celebrities use ghostwriters. Most commonly someone would like to publish their story but they lack the writing skills, so they hire a ghostwriter. The writer becomes the ghost, so to speak.

Ghostwriting has a variety of parameters: sometimes the ghost remains unseen; sometimes they are identified as an editor; sometimes they are identified as a secondary writer.  Each ghostwriting contract is unique. Sometimes a ghost will work with an already written manuscript to turn it into a publishable, interesting work.

Skilled ghostwriting is reliant upon the ghostwriter’s ability to accurately assume the voice of their subject. It requires the capacity to recognise the value of various components of their subject’s life and activities, and to write them in such a way as  to bring the subject to life.

The process involves a series of in-depth interviews from which the ghostwriter produces a rough draft manuscript and then discusses with their subject whether sufficient material has been included and whether the voice and tone are accurate.  In order to produce a lively, readable manuscript the ghost requires frank disclosure of events and activities, and the subject’s emotional responses to them. This can often be difficult for the subject, and a skilled ghost employs sensitive, intelligent interviewing skills and often, the courage to push carefully through the subjects’s sometimes guarded emotions. In a sense, the ghost needs to be able to  temporarily become the subject. Ghostwriting is very much a collaborative process, so a ghost must be carefully chosen.

Once the basic skeleton of the work has been approved and adjusted, the ghost then begins the process of editing and shaping the book. The key word is collaboration, and this is the most important facet of any ghostwritten publication. A good ghost will follow your guidelines while offering the advice of experience, but all good ghosts acknowledge overall control of the project to the apparent author.

Necessary requirements when choosing a ghost include an assessment of the ghost’s capacity to work well with you; an assessment of your own capacity to trust the ghost with intimate information; and a willingness to accept guidance from the ghost without compromising your own concepts of what the finished work should look like. Before settling on a ghost to produce your book, engage in a searching interview to establish your own comfort levels and the ghost’s capacities.


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