Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Ghost writing . . . fiction?

Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff has a post up at Book View Cafe about being a ghost writer.

I must admit I never imagined ghost writing fiction.

In my ten years of being a full time freelancer, my fiction clients have run the gamut from people who thought of themselves as writers, but who didn’t have the time to write, people who knew they weren’t writers but had an idea they wanted to see realized, people who knew how to write a screenplay but had no idea what to do with 300 blank pages of a book, people who had natural talent and wanted someone to write them through the process of crafting a novel so they could learn how it was done.

How about that? Would you ever have guessed that this phenomenon existed?

I think that last reason actually makes a lot of sense. I think the idea of wanting to think of yourself as a writer and so paying someone to write a book for you is . . . uh . . . well . . . perhaps a trifle delusional. Would you every consider declaring that you are a skydiver and publishing pictures of “yourself” skydiving and writing blog posts about how great a time you had skydiving last week, while actually paying someone to jump out of planes as your stunt double? Could you actually manage to think of yourself as a real skydiver if you did that? How? Also: why?

Some of those ghostwrites and edits have never seen print, others have been self-published by the “author”, or picked up by a small press, and one of them went to a major publisher of science fiction (no, I can’t tell you any more than that). Some of the ghostwrites were screenplays for which I was paid handsomely, and which may or may not have been filmed.

And how about this? Honestly, it kind of looks to me like the publisher would have a legal case against the “author” for fraud. I would assume Bohnhoff looked into relevant law, though, so maybe not.

Anyway, count me amazed.

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