A Weird Phenomenon I call “Ghostwriter’s Limbo”

Ghostwriter Limbo

The level of independence I experience as a writer is one of the interesting things about my job as a ghostwriter. After all, my job is to make writing a book easy for my clients, which means they don’t have to do much. The initial interview period is where clients are deeply involved in telling … Read more

Writing Style Should Fit the Tale to be Told

fountain pen nib

One of my favorite aspects of ghostwriting memoirs is when I have gathered all the information for the book and I get to choose the style I’ll write it in. To me, style is everything, and I don’t choose a writing style lightly.

A Look at Some Writing Style Options

I have to ask myself: does the book want to read clipped and straightforward, like a detective novel; folksy and casual, like a southern novel; or complex and involved like a political thriller? In making the selection, I have to look at the information needing to be conveyed.

Basically, the more complex the storyline, the more creative I have to get with the writing style. For instance, the book I’m ghostwriting now involves a man’s life set against a very complicated political background, so the amount of information that has to be conveyed in each chapter is immense.

It’s like basically writing two books in one. I had to think about how I was going to bring across all this information, because one technique won’t do it. When there’s a lot of exposition like that, it can’t all be given through dialogue, hindsight narrative, asides, or any single technique. It has to come across through a variety of techniques so that the reader doesn’t catch on to how she’s being educated as she reads.

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Don’t Forget about Style in your Query Letter

air mail envelopes

Query letter writers, let’s address another issue I often notice when I’m looking at query letters clients have written–that of style. Remember that your query letter is a sales pitch for your book and as such it should intrigue the reader from the first word. Basically, you are Don Draper, this letter is an advertisement … Read more

Live in the Present, but Don’t Write That Way

a clock

Let’s talk about the use of present tense in a memoir. I’ll start by making it clear, I’m not a fan; the reason being, it’s impossible to have hindsight in present tense. Among those I’ve met or read who write memoirs in present tense, the author usually gives as a reason the idea of wanting that sense of immediacy, of putting the reader in the moment. They think writing in present tense gives them that. For me, I’ve never felt any more sense of immediacy when reading a story in present tense than in past tense. What gives a book a sense of unputdownable immediacy is good writing. I’m not being a grouch here, it’s just true. Simply changing tense isn’t going to make your writing more compelling.

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