Career gurus advise freelancers to "niche down" and specialize, because there's big money in specialization. If you don't believe me, then take a look at salaries of healthcare specialists like plastic surgeons to generalists like primary care physicians. The same goes for writers. Writers who specialize in financial technology or blockchain command higher rates than those who are generalists.
I'm a generalist. In short, I know a little bit about a whole lot of stuff. Some of that comes from lived experience, some comes from knowledge acquired through researching myriad topics, and some comes from simply reading a variety of informative sources.
When it comes to ghostwriting books, another factor comes into play: desire. Or perhaps you might call it interest. A lot of people want to hire ghostwriters and are willing to pay a lot of money for a ghostwriter's expertise. These are generally nonfiction projects for, by, and about high-powered business executives who wish to impart their insights and life journeys to others. These projects require extended interviews with the subjects, interviews with others, and intense focus.
If I were that kind of ghostwriter ... but I'm not.
I prefer to ghostwrite fiction.
There's a misconception that fiction requires no research. Actually, it does. Writing fiction requires a great deal of research to establish verisimilitude, that level of realism that serves as the base for plausibility. Research imparting a factual basis to what happens in the story is crucial to enabling the reader to suspend his or her disbelief.
Of course, realism isn't the only factor that goes into making a story good. It involves the ability to create engaging dialogue, action, emotion, motive, and more. It requires an ability to develop characters with more dimensions than a paper doll. It requires knowing how to write primarily in active voice to make the verbs perform the heavy lifting.
Interviewing subjects to obtain their insights isn't one of my better skills. To be candid, I don't like prying and digging into someone's recollections for insights. I prefer to simply hold a conversation. In fiction, it's great to experience the characters revealing themselves through dialogue, action, and introspection. I flatter myself in thinking I do a good job at that.
Value doesn't necessarily confer reduction to dollar value. I find value in the relationships I develop with my clients and in the quality of what I write for them. I won't earn the six-figure salary that a big company's CEO will pay to have his life story and lessons learned transformed into a motivational or inspirational tome, but I'll do what I'm best at doing: writing stories.
That does, of course, lead into the question as to whether it's wise to hire a ghostwriter to write your story. The main objection—beyond the financial implication—is that the ghostwriter won't write your story exactly as you would. Of course not.
However, have you considered that the ghostwriter may very well write that story better than you could?
Just as a home cook can make a tasty meal, but not necessarily have the skill to serve as a chef in a fine restaurant, your writing skill may be adequate for business reports and not up to the challenge of writing a book that engages readers. When you want a nice meal, you cook it yourself. When you want a great meal, a chef cooks for you. The same goes for writing stories.
Let me be your chef de fiction. Let me write your story.
#henhousepublishing #ghostwriting #fictionwriting
Last night I cooked dinner, chicken soup made from the leftover chicken from Sunday night's supper. Chicken soup isn't difficult; I've made it many times. This time I decided to try something a bit different.
I seasoned the soup with thyme, lemon, and garlic. Those flavors usually combine really well. I added in some green bell pepper and celery. I was out of chicken stock, so I poured water into the pot. Then, instead of potatoes or noodles, I added a cup of long grain rice.
After two or three hours, I tasted the soup. It needed something. So, I added a bit of parsely and dill.
I don't know how the Campbell's keeps the rice in their canned soups whole, because the dreadfully overcooked rice in my soup dissolved into a grainy mess. I didn't think what had turned into a chicken-and-rice stew (you could eat it with a fork) tasted bad, but my husband didn't like it.
Later that evening, I worked on one of my ongoing manuscripts, this one a continuation of the Russian Love series. This book features Ciro as our hero and Evelina, Inessa's cousin, as our heroine. I added a couple of thousand words and ... I wasn't sure I liked what I wrote.
The beauty of writing today, done on an electronic device using a word processing program, is that I can easily review and delete and rewrite content that doesn't meet my own expectations. Not so much with food. It's impossible to remove the seasonings once added.
This just goes to show that, no matter how long one has been doing something, it's still quite possible to get it wrong. Regarding the chicken soup (or stew), the leftovers may get tossed. Currently, they're in the refrigerator. I'll eat some for lunch. If it's still off-putting, then I'll toss the rest and settle for something else. As for the manuscript, I'll review what I wrote and, if it still strikes me as less than worthy, I'll delete what I wrote last night and try again.
Writing isn't a one-and-done process. It involves multiple rounds of reviewing, editing, revising, and rewriting to get the story just right. A lot of aspiring authors don't understand that and err in one of two ways. The first is never to finish their manuscript because they're trying to make the first draft perfect. The second is not to realize that review and revision are necessary, thereby submitting "undercooked" work.
With cooking, you don't necessarily get a second chance to save a dish from disaster; however, you do with writing. The written word allows you to add and remove seasoning, adjust portions, and manipulate your content in myriad ways. In cooking, you can only add, not substract.