Who is ghostwriter?

Ghostwriting is a common practice in countless environments, from journalism to literature. The ghostwriter practices it (the literal meaning is “ghost writer”), an individual who, in exchange for money, composes novels, soundtracks, propaganda or political articles, etc. Once his work is finished, the latter will be published in the name of his client and the identity of the professional, the true author of the work, will remain hidden or, alternatively, he may be thanked (for example in the preface of a book) or indicated as a contributor in the writing of a paper relevant to the scientific or experimental field. On some occasions, a non-disclosure contract is stipulated, according to which the ghost writer must remain in the shadows without any recognition. Sad but then known, the phenomenon whereby those who are higher up on the “hierarchical scale” of work exploit the ghostwriters they assume, in a sort of theft of ideas after which they do not reward their subordinates.

The work agreement

The relationship between the author and the one who will be recognized as such does not follow a fixed pattern. For example, the ghostwriter is not always hired to write a full text, but to review a series of drafts or a novel being completed. Sometimes the contribution of the incognito writer can be greater, having to organize and implement the basic ideas provided by the employer. As a rule, the fact remains that the ghostwriter gets to work on the basis of some hints of the client, which directs him and specifies which aspect of the composition he prefers to emphasize or make stand out.

Why hire a ghostwriter

There are many and varied motivations that push the applicant to have a ghostwriter to publish a work: for example the lack of time, or even a lack of preparation and literary ability. Other times it is the publishing houses that seek their collaboration, for purely commercial reasons. In fact, novels in the name of famous personalities attract more readers, who are more likely to buy books written by established authors in the field of literature than by emerging individuals.

How to become a ghostwriter

The work of ghost-writer, as well as that of the writer in general, does not have a structured and rigid formation. There are no specific schools, except for creative writing courses which provide narrative tools and techniques to refine as writers and write a structured novel worthy of publication.

In this regard, Michele told me:

By pure chance I happened to work on this type of project. And I must say that it is a difficult but fascinating journey. For me, a way of having to permanently abandon my ego and having to put myself, not only in the shoes of the characters of the novel, but also in the mind and soul of the client. For those who entrust the project, a way of rediscovering the story they had in mind from another angle. And maybe, a bit like a psychological and cathartic work, to get rid of some demons.

The fields of action of the ghostwriters

As already mentioned, phantom writers work in different fields of knowledge. Here are some examples of the kinds they deal with:

Biographies: It is not uncommon for politicians and celebrities to rely on a ghostwriter to put their stories in writing.

When the objective of the professional is to write a work of this kind, he will have to learn as much as possible about the subject to be represented; will go to interview the client, his relatives and acquaintances, so as to obtain a picture as accurate as possible. Based on memories and information, they will compose more or less long passages, from articles to books, portraying the lives of those who hired them (or for whom they were hired), perhaps having to keep a certain tone or often during the narration finding themselves forced to insert news in their texts that is not entirely true, coming to amalgamate reality and fantasy.

An example of this type of autobiography is Open, the story of Andre Agassi, a famous American tennis player.

Fantasy novels: ghost writers are used by publishers to amplify sales, so they often write on behalf of award-winning authors yellow volumes, noir and fantasy, but also books for the little ones.

Literary series: who has never heard of Nancy Drew?

Well, the innumerable novels for boys who see the young little detective as the protagonist are spread by as many ghostwriters, gathered under the pseudonym “Carolyn Keene”. These have agreed on the narrative line to be kept and the various characters to be presented again between the pages.

Writers from beyond the grave: it may happen that an author wants to continue to have his books published once they have died. The ghostwriters are responsible for this task, who lend themselves to continue the work of famous predecessors following their departure.

Scientific research: there are professionals, skilled writers and enthusiasts and lovers of science, who contribute to the affirmation of studies containing innovative theses. With their testimony they thus support theories of biology and chemistry, being rewarded by the weight of gold by the multinationals that gain credibility thanks to their signature.

Miscellaneous: it may happen that, for example in the university world, acclaimed professors publish declaring themselves authors, when in reality their materials have been found or reviewed by their students. Still in the working world, we often hear of superiors who appropriate the studies of their subordinates, not even having the decency to pay them as they should.

I hope I gave you some more information about the work of the ghost-writer.

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