1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Ghostwriting

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, Apr 10, 2012.

    How do you feel about ghostwriting?

    I find it annoying. I feel like it makes it look like writing a book is easy. I was walking through a bookstore yesterday, and saw a number one bestseller by a celeb. that I was SURE did not write her book. (Maybe she did, and if she did more power to her. But I have my doubts).

    What do you guys think about it?
     
  2. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    Are you talking about Snooki? Lol.

    And I am not sure of how I feel about it... I, personally, would hate to see the credit of my work going to another person. But if I were to write a book about Snooki I would leave the credits to someone else. In a sense, it's bad because you don't get recognized. But if you are being paid to write books for celebrities that won't be the most famous book ever since the Holy Bible I guess there's nothing essentially wrong with it... If you don't want the credit, that is.
     
  3. infernal
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    infernal New Member

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    I mean if there is a market then I guess it's alright. I wonder if ghostwriters can say "I ghostwritten this book" or do they have to fully keep details hidden? If a great book was ghostwritten then let it be a secret because if I knew Steven King didn't write all his books then I would lose some respect for him...
     
  4. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    I guess I just feel like it lessens the craft of writing to an extent. I mean, don't get me wrong, I write for myself. But since Snooki was brought up, let's use her as an example (it wasn't Snooki btw). If someone sees that Snooki wrote and published a book, it makes it seem like anyone can do it. That is isn't hard. Which is fine, if Snooki wrote a book. But if Snooki just pretends to write a book, then it almost makes writing a cheap gimmick in my opinion.

    I can understand why a ghostwriter might do it, of course. Anything with Snooki's face will sell (to idiots. and there are a lot of them), so it has a good chance of making money for a writer with an unrecognized name. Sure, it makes sense.

    I still find it annoying.

    It's not quite so bad IMO if there is a series that an author has established and they hire a ghostwriter to help them write just to pump out books faster. I feel to an extent that that is being done for the audience's benefit, not the author's. Since Steven King was brought up: We all know Steven King can write and sell books and knows what he's doing, so he doesn't need someone to write for him. But if his audience was wanting a continuation on his series, and he just didn't have time to meet their demands, then him approving someone else's work to me is not being greedy. I still don't necessarily like it, but I respect it a little more than just the Snooki example.

    Idk...I just need to finish my books.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think I could ever ghost-write anything. For a start, I can't stand the idea of someone else getting my credit. For seconds, I just can't see myself ever wanting to bring so much work onto myself for someone else's benefit and credit, and for a project I don't love as my own (and if I did love it as my own, I'd want credit. See the dilemma?) And the idea of having to change my style and voice, change my wording, tweak perfect sentences because the fake author doesn't like it this way or whatever, having to work out how to write it with another person...

    All in all, no way. I'd never let anyone ghost-write me either. My work is mine. If it never get published, well I'll keep dreaming and trying. But if it ever got published, I wanna know that it is ALL mine, and that I can be proud of it because I worked hard for it.

    But personal views aside, ghost-writing could be good for ones who are just not gifted with words. Some people have great stories, even meaningful stories to tell, and for those occasions I think it's great that someone would ghost-write for them.

    To be honest, when one talks about literature and books, the ignorant immediately say "oh everyone can do it and make things up" - but the moment you actually start telling people you write, you're actually working on a book, they're usually amazed and very impressed, like it's an achievement even to be working on one. So I don't think there's much danger there of people thinking writing a book is easy. Few will know exactly how hard it is, but also few will actually think of it as "easy".
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm a ghostwriter of a sort, have ghostwritten material to some extent... that is, i rewrite poorly written mss for people who don't have the skills to turn out a publishable/readable book on their own...

    and the above quote from mckk is why i do it and find it satisfying work... the joy these 'authors' express to me at seeing their mess turned into something total strangers would want to read is reward enough... the fees make it possible for me to give aid to the in-need with my free books programs and donation centers... and to keep on mentoring many aspiring writers without charge...

    as it happens, i am right now ghost-rewriting a book for a client from the subcontinent, that is not only an intriguing novel on its own, but has a philosophical quality that makes it a 'literary' work with a good chance of being published, once it's been rewritten to make sense to western readers... and i am just finishing up the last of 6 screenplay rewrites for another client...

    all that aside, and while i respect the ghostwriter's ability to write with their clients' voices, i do not approve of the celebrities who hire them and then pretend they wrote their own memoirs... that cheapens the work of the few who actually have written their own, like the charming memoirs david niven, peter ustinov and their ilk turned out...

    i also have no respect whatsoever for the famous authors who franchise themselves and hire anonymous or even named 'sous-writers' to churn out the big-name guys' books from outlines or simply plot ideas the boss assigns... that, i feel, is out and out cheating their fans... same goes for family members of deceased best-selling authors... i've stopped reading anything purportedly written by several authors whose works i used to enjoy reading for that very reason... james patterson is the worst of the lot, imo...

    i do, however, have respect those who opt for the more honest 'with' credit accorded their non-fiction ghosts... the reason so many ghostwriters don't hold out for that, is usually because they can charge a higher fee if their name's not on the book and that's money in hand, not just hoped for from book sales, with a cut of the royalties that credits would bring...

    ghostwriting isn't easier than writing one's own material, even though copious notes or even a full ms may be provided... one must be able to get inside the client's head, assume their personality... and write in the client's 'voice' not their own... that's tricky and hard to do... like being good actors who can make you believe they are the characters they portray... and that's why ghostwriting is such a lucrative profession... and, i feel, a completely honorable one, albeit unsung and not much understood or respected by the public at large... try it just once and those of you who look down on those of us who practice the art will, i think, come away with a higher regard for the ghostwriter...

    as for whether a ghostwriter can tell anyone what they wrote, that depends on the contract they signed with the client... if there's a 'no-disclosure' clause, then they can't... and if they break it, they will most likely face severe financial penalties...
     

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