The Art of (Ghost)writing
On the surface, the idea of ghostwriting can seem a bit odd. After all, people typically consider writing to be an expression of one’s personal thoughts and feelings…not a copy of someone else’s voice. But throughout our experiences telling other people’s stories, we’ve discovered how profound ghostwriting can be.
At the end of the day, it’s our job to write in the way that you speak. Good ghostwriting isn’t marked by diction or tone; it’s marked by precision and accuracy. When you read ghostwritten material about yourself, it should sound like the very best version of something that you’ve typed.
At the risk of getting too literary, we find ourselves coming back to the poet T.S. Eliot’s approach to writing. Eliot uses a scientific analogy to show the relationship between a writer and his/her subject matter.
He asks us to consider a chamber filled with oxygen and sulfur dioxide. Left in isolation, a reaction between these two gases never occurs. But in the presence of platinum, the gases dramatically form sulphurous acid. Without the platinum, the acid would never form; and without the initial gases, the platinum would serve no function.
As ghostwriters, we’re the shred of platinum. Your life experiences are the chamber of oxygen and sulfur dioxide, and your Story Album is the sulphurous acid. All in all, our job is both simple and challenging:
We make the reaction take place.
Below, we’ve outlined a few roles that are intrinsic to the art of ghostwriting:
A ghostwriter’s craft is equal parts writing and equal parts observation. On a macro level, that means listening to the plot of your stories. But our role goes far deeper than learning the facts of your life. It’s our job to gather the tiny details and idiosyncrasies that make you you. That includes the words you like to use, your sense of humor, the rate at which you speak, and countless other factors that distinguish you from every other voice. In order for your Story Album to feel authentic, we absorb the way that you communicate.
That’s why our interviews are such an important part of the Storyflect process. They provide us with the opportunity to understand your perspective on the world.
2) We Dig Deep.
You’re the author of your story. That means that every opinion and morsel of wisdom will always come from you. But profound insights don’t materialize out of thin air. They come from stimulating dialogue. When we discuss your stories with you, we strive to uncover the stakes that give your life meaning.
In this regard, the Storyflect process provides an avenue to reflect upon your experiences and view your life in a fresh light. Together, we sift through your experiences to display your lessons and wisdom. While the past doesn’t always feel significant or special, we think you’ll be surprised by what you find.
3) We Organize.
Life is messy. It isn’t linear, it isn’t exponential; in fact, it can’t be predicted by any statistical model. Thank goodness for that -- a life that fits neatly into a box isn’t a life worth living. But the unwieldy nature of people’s lives give memoirists a tricky task, as we’re expected to package a person’s experiences into a concise series of pages.
Without altering the facts as they’ve occurred, we’re trained to organize your experiences into a format that translates to readers. This is the part that most people dread, but there’s something incredibly gratifying about making someone’s stories accessible to a body of readers.
With all of these points in mind, we have to admit that we find the term ‘ghostwriting’ a bit misleading. A ghost implies something nebulous, transparent, and not fully there. As your writing partners, we’re just the opposite…
Rather than distant, we’re fiercely present; rather than shallow, we strive for depth; and rather than ethereal, we’re fully human.