What do ghostwriters do and how do they do it? While I can’t speak for every ghostwriter, what I can say is that learning about someone else’s story and then creating it on the page is a unique science.
When I begin a book project, I spend a great deal of time just listening. I conduct frequent interviews with the author, in person and/or by telephone, to not only hear the author tell his or her story but to also learn more about the author as a person, picking up on subtle nuances and cues, like vocabulary choices, tone of voice, and mannerisms. As a ghostwriter, however, my task isn’t just translating someone else’s thoughts into a story that others will want to read. The process delves much deeper than that. I need to see what the author sees, feel what the author feels, be where the author was. That’s when I begin writing, page after page, chapter after chapter, to create the manuscript.
Ghostwriting is more interpretation than it is translation. The ghostwriter is like a filter through which the author’s thoughts can spill freely onto the canvas. But, the ghostwriter also acts as a trusty rudder that guides the creative process. The process of ghostwriting a book or any other type of writing always begins and ends with the power of words. Not just any words, but carefully selected words that first create a framework then color in the picture of what the author intended. When my clients tell me, “That’s just how I envisioned it,” I know I have the tapped into the author’s vision.