A Ghostwriter looks for Depth

doorway in a stone monastery leading to more doorways

Often clients are surprised when they see themselves in the memoir manuscript for the first time. There are a lot of clients who want to be the absolute hero of all the stories and subplots of their lives, because they honestly see themselves that way. Sometimes, they’re disappointed.

Now, I can write you as the hero of every story, but usually the same clients want the book to be “a best seller.” I happen to know that readers don’t want to read flat, impossibly heroic characters like that, so as long as the ghostwriting client trusts me, I will write his or her character complete with faults, internal conflict, failures, and, of course, successes, too.

Typically my clients trust me, so when they see themselves in the memoir, they’re often surprised by the depth I’ve written into the character, but once they get used to it, they admit that I did hit the nail pretty much on the head.

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Writers: Get Your Hands Dirty

Sometimes I mentor writers, and these amateurs really make me nuts when they complain about “not feeling inspired.” Waiting to be inspired before you write is like waiting for God to hand you a Ph.D. in astrophysics before you decide to be an astronaut. Writing is a Discipline When it comes to creative work, schooling … Read more

Every Character is Me

little boy with ukelele

Writing the last few chapters of a novel is a really weird feeling. You sit there with your characters, and the trick is not to think ahead too much. The trap you can get into is, “If he does this now, then that means this will have to happen later and then that and then … Read more

The “E” Structure for a Memoir

street lamp with letter F on it

Ghostwriting clients often ask about book structure and about the wisdom of using flashbacks, so my work as a memoir ghostwriter often includes educating clients as to how writers think and work, so that, together, we can make informed decisions for the book. Today’s blog is about just that. The caper I’m working on now … Read more

The “Innocent Days”

old black typewriter

Working as a ghostwriter, I rarely get a chance to develop my own stories, but sometimes I have a nice break between gigs, or I get ahead on a ghostwriting project, and I can take a look at a novel I’ve put on the shelf. This happened recently, and it’s scary, because I’m afraid that … Read more

A Santa Fe Writer’s Guide to Local Cafés

cafe, outdoors

Some people write in cafés. I don’t know how anyone could write more than a blog in a public place, but that’s me. Whether I’m working on my own work, or ghostwriting,  I have to write without music or distractions. Boring, I know! But I blog, as you may have noticed, and for this purpose … Read more

The Cute Cats Phenomenon

kitten sleeping

Back before the future arrived, people were predicting what the future would hold. That was back when George Jetson sped to work on a rocket each morning after his wife Judy operated the machine that made his pancakes and eggs. (Incidentally, the machine then fed the dog and washed the dishes all by itself. I … Read more

Writing and Your Subconscious Mind

person meditating on the beach

My body doesn’t want me to write. Every day, it’s a mind/body war. Whether I’m ghostwriting a memoir or fiction, it doesn’t matter. I get started on a page, and as soon as I get stuck, I start to fall asleep. It feels like I’ve been roofied. It’s absolute sleepiness that can’t be argued with. … Read more

A Ghostwriter: Ready for Anything


One of next year’s ghostwriting projects, for me, might very well be a European travel memoir. Now, the last time I got to travel for a book, it was to the American South: an interesting and revelatory experience for this Yankee. I saw the cotton fields of Alabama and met a lot of honest-to-gosh hillbillies. … Read more

The Santa Fe Speakeasy Presents

old fashioned microphone in a blue halo--logo for santa fe speakeasy

It’s that time again, for the Santa Fe Speakeasy, Santa Fe’s only live, true, storytelling show. (I usually say our only “monthly live true storytelling show” figuring the more adjectives I insert the less likely someone is to prove me false. I actually have no idea if there are any other shows like this out there.)

Inhuman Behavior

I’m really excited for this month’s theme: Inhuman Behavior. Really the theme is animals, but I expanded it to include anything not human, including aliens or people who act in an inhuman way. I’ll be telling a story called “Miss Priss,” about how I went from being a prissy debutante child to a wild untamed rebel, with the help of horses, moths, tarantulas, and a couple of horny toads (those are actual animals, not what you’re thinking).

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