Posts Tagged ‘corporate copywriter’

What Exactly Is A Ghost Writer?

July 9, 2008

What Exactly Is A Ghost Writer?

The answer that you get to that question really depends a lot on who you are asking.

A happily enthusiastic CEO of a well known publishing house once referred to me as “the invisible, all-knowing, unsung hero, carefully well hidden behind the velvet curtain, giving an audible and readable voice to the functionally mute celebrities that the world so desperately wants to hear from!”

That sounds pretty darned good to me. I must admit, I really do like that little explanation, but believe me, some opinions aren’t anywhere near that respectful or positive.

I once read a scathing comment by another professional writer, actually a journalist, who judgingly referred to “Ghost Writers” as “those insecure little “chicken sh*ts” that hide away in the shadows, collecting an occasional token crumb that falls from the table of the famous people who amass riches and popularity from their “ventriloquist” like writings that are sadly and unwittingly perceived by a “duped” society to be the actual spoken words of mere lifeless, wooden dummies.”

Ouch!!!! I gotta tell ya the truth, I really don’t like that quote all that very much at all, but hey, its how some people see things, so I owe it to you to honestly bring you both sides of the story.

You see, in reality, both opinions are actually correct in their own way and in the vast majority of the cases, the truth generally id found somewhere in the middle of those two overly energized, polar extremes.

A “Ghost Writer” is a specialist who is somehow able to completely set his or her own unique, personal style, genre and voice aside in order to be effectively capable to “write” in the place of, and as if one actually, truly “IS,” some famous celebrity, interesting individual or popular person.

For example, let’s say that there is a popular musical artist, movie actor, TV star or sports hero who has the “FAME” and “HOT FACTOR” necessary to sell a lot of books, but writing is simply not their forte or one of their “special gifts.”

Do you think this person or their management wants to allow this awesome opportunity to cash in with a best seller book, simply slip through their fingers simply because “Ms. Movie Star or Mr. Sports Champion” isn’t really very good at turning a clever or memorable phrase, telling a hypnotically mesmerizing story or composing compelling comments for their captivating chronicles?

The answer to that question is a big, definitive NO!

The solution to the problem: “Where’s Waldo” … or in my case, “Where’s Larry?”

Why me?

Is it because I’m the greatest writer in the entire history of the known universe?

Gosh, I wish that were true, but I promise you, just spend a few hours in my library and allow me to introduce you to Hemingway, Shakespeare, Huxley, Shelley, Vonnegut, Poe, Woolf, Asimov, Twain, Serling, Blume, Wilde, Burroughs, Austen, Orwell, Tolkien, Faulkner, Dickens, Woolf, Bradbury, Joyce, just to name and I am certain that such an outrageously outlandish idea will be forever tossed from your consciousness for as long as you shall live!

No, … I may be really, really good, but that’s “Really, Really Good” with two “O’s,” not just one.

Yes, it’s true that you need to be a really good writer to be able to successfully take on any possible combination of personality traits, ethnic heritages, ages, origins, life styles, locales, even genders, but that’s not the most important quality and characteristic that celebrities, their management and the publishing houses are all desperately looking for.

Yes, the ability to be highly empathetic and to be able to tune in on and become the thoughts, beliefs, character, voice of this person, while simultaneously being sure to completely clear out one’s own personal points of view and ways of thinking, talking and being, is a very important factor. While considered an extremely rare ability, that, in fact, is getting harder and harder to find every day, it’s still nowhere near being the main issue at hand when it comes to determining why I get the call.

So what is it?

Give up? OK, I’ll tell you.

It’s all about TRUST and LOYALTY!

That’s something that you can’t buy and something that you can’t just create out of thin air. It takes years and years of absolute, 100% uncompromising ethical, moral and loyal behavior, always being true to the client and never telling a “SOUL” who you are working for and as.

Being a trusted and relied upon “Ghost Writer” is an experience very much like being part of a “Top Secret” government project, with not merely signed legal documentation regulating what can and cannot be said to who, personal, human to human, sworn oaths of loyalty and allegiance to your client and the project, that will never be compromised, even 20 years after the work is finished and published.

If I am contracted to ghost write a book, article, song, poem, short story, screen play, website or a speech as “someone else” and am not just legally bound but sworn to secrecy about that project, I ca NEVER, EVER tell anyone about it, not my family, not my best friend, “NOT ANYBODY!”

That’s why I’m called in, because while I am perfectly free to let you know with a sense of pride and appreciation that i have been blessed with the honor and privilege to write for such companies as: Toyota, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Salem Communications, Mazda, Burger King, etc., I cannot and will not ever tell anyone who I have “ghost written” for, ever.

That’s why they call. They know in absolute comfort and confidence that in over 30 years, I’ve never told a single soul even the tiniest speck of information about any of my “Ghost Writing ” projects, and I never will. They trust and believe with absolute certainty that “my lips are sealed,” even when I one day lay there in my death bed, no one will ever, ever know a thing about it my work as a Ghost Writer!

That’s what a REAL “Ghost Writer” is!

Any questions?

Just kidding! LOL

Larry   😉

“On Words And Up Words”

Larry L. Nichols

Words are my paints – Minds are my canvases.