A ghostwriter is someone whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author. Does this sound confusing?
As a ghostwriter of your story, I step metaphorically inside your shoes and relate your story, in your words, with you doing the talking and directing and me doing the gathering and the writing. I tell your story for you but unless you decide otherwise, I am not seen or heard by the reader. I am writing with my skills but your voice.
A ghostwriter is a solution if you want your story to be written, but due to lack of time or other factors, you know you will never get around to this task yourself.
Of course, the story may not be about you, but about someone you know whose story you feel passionate about and want to be preserved – with this approach, the text will read more like a biography than a first-person story.
To be a ghostwriter, I believe an important quality is an ability to empathise with the person in the story at hand, and to have the skill to detach one’s own feelings and beliefs from impacting on or influencing the script.
As a former journalist, who as a young cadet or cub reporter worked for a newspaper whose editor did not believe in bylines, I often felt like a ghostwriter as nobody but the people I actually interviewed for a story knew that I was the writer of the story. It was good training in focusing on the writing of the story for writing’s sake, and not allowing ego or the desire for kudos to get in the way of a good story.
If your story request grabs and arouses my attention, I will be happy to be your ghostwriter. Everyone has a story to tell and I am always interested in helping to tell the story in the best way possible – to be true to the person whose story it is, and to enable the story to have the desired impact in connecting with the reader.
Before embarking on a project such as this, we will discuss the business side of things, as well as what you want to achieve, so that we are on the same page with expectations right from the start. Our respective roles will be set out in a clear and concise way on a timeline so you know exactly to expect, what to do, and when.
To establish the timeline, I will want to know if you want the story to be written for your own interest and safe-keeping only, or do you want it to be printed and shared with family members and like-minded friends, or to go a step further and want it to be a mainstream publication?
Do you want a short story of 5000 words or so, or aa novella of 30,000 words or a book-size manuscript of 65,000 words?
Importantly, you need to be prepared to make time for interviews with me, so that I can gather the raw material and become a participant in your story (or whoever’s story it is) as well as an observer of it. You may like to provide a list of other people who can add valuable insights to your story, and share diary records or recommend resources that can support and validate your memories.
The ghostwriting process may not be as personally rewarding for you as doing the actual writing yourself, but indeed it is the very best next thing. It is far better to employ a ghostwriter and create a cherished keepsake, than not to record your story at all.