A Self-Review Is An Important Part Of The Revision Process Immortalize The Voice Of A Loved One – Hire A Ghostwriter

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Immortalize The Voice Of A Loved One – Hire A Ghostwriter

Imagine you’ve inherited the rights to a screenplay. You wouldn’t be alone. In fact, it’s trending — understandable since forty thousand plus screenplays were written per year for the last twenty-five years. It was only a matter of time before they were resuscitated as last bequeaths.

Your imaginary benefactor’s eulogy glorified the dedication, the passion and the sacrifice with which words were capture to the page. Words, which in a unique style, voiced muses, meanderings and observations on life. Words which were this aspiring playwright’s most valued possession. Words which, for whatever reason, you now own!

Every writer has experienced the curse of an untold story. Haunted by one’s own ideas is aggravating enough. But to be reminded of a legacy-in-waiting at every family function is insufferable. What were once whispers of time ill-spent, have gossiped into a responsibility to the family name. ‘It’s a shame to think that the only credits her work earned were in her will’ will shadow you when all you want is more potato salad.

Whichever befits your character, a stoic answer to the call of duty or a dramatic capitulation with arms in the air, be prepared for the onset of reality. Your pen has just written promises it can’t keep. If you’re a writer, time is already rationed amongst personal projects. On the other hand, if you’re ‘narrative challenged’ (as she was) the task is a bit more foreboding.

So . . . who ‘ya gonna call? Ghostwriters!

Don’t dismiss the idea too fast. Appreciate that ghostwriting has been a guiltless yet respectable option for centuries. For as long as there have been speeches, memoirs or sequels, writing has been outsourced. The cultural handiwork of ghosts has not been limited to literature. Music and painting have a history of contributions by ghosts as well.

Does it honestly matter that ‘co-authored by’ or ‘as told to’ appears on the jacket, as long as the story is engaging? Odds are the book is better on account of it.

At the next visit to your favorite online bookstore, make a point to browse the memoirs. Much of the work has been penned on the condition of anonymity. Ask yourself these questions: ‘Do you really think as many were self-written as claimed?’ ‘Is it reasonable to assume that celebrities and sports figures whose success resulted from a lifetime of practice, were suddenly as equally adept at being proficient authors?’ Picking up a scalpel would be beyond belief, so why isn’t a pen?

In the publishing and film industries, ghostwriting is ubiquitous. The Development Editor identifies extensive revisions necessary to make a manuscript marketable. On a larger scale, teams of unnamed professional writers do the same to major Hollywood releases. A script reversed from the finished production would rarely resemble the original.

Don’t let partial notions prevent further consideration of ghostwriting when you cannot do it yourself. If a qualified writer can be found at an acceptable price, is it not worth it to break the curse and free the story?

Assuming the decision to proceed, the next step is to find one. Rather than searching ‘ghostwriter’, post the writing project on a freelance database. The first approach will list services charging $10K to $30K and the project will have to fit into their schedule. The second will return multiple bids ranging from $500 to $1000 from an international wealth of eager writers.

At these rates, your scribe will be scrambling. Consequently, even the most efficient writing can hide serious problems between the lines. It may be bland without inspiration. Characters may be stereotypical or weakly drawn. Backstory and exposition may be information dumps disrupting story flow. The style may be rift with distractions causing the reader to disengage. The potential for flaws is considerable. Therefore, expect to dedicate some time for editorial review. Lean on friends and family to critique it as if it were your own. Use a standardized critique from writing sites or an editorial filtering service.

Before posting a project description, understand the differences between a screenplay and a manuscript. Any screenplay, even one nominated by the Academy is not publishable as a novel. Few people would purchase a copy of a screenplay for a good read.

Other than the directing instructions, the story content of a screenplay is essentially a subset of a manuscript. Both have a hook, characters, dialogue, a problem, a goal, conflicts, a climax, character growth and an ending. In addition to this, the manuscript has narratives which elaborate on the setting, the backstory, the characterization, the action and the emotional depth. Without these, a screenplay is mostly dialogue. In a manuscript, dialogue typically comprises 40% to 60% of content.

Therefore, the project is basically to approach the dialogue of the screenplay like the plotting or the skeleton of the story. To this, narratives consisting of the missing elements are fleshed or layered in.

The project description also has evaluation and promotional components. It is appropriate to request a sample chapter on spec, as well as, a pitch, a synopsis, and a logline.

As the bids trickle in, the evaluation process resembles the role of an H.R. dept. Desirable skill-sets include the abilities to:

– make the author’s words jump off the page in their original voice and style rather than what they personally publish;

– experience and interest in the subject matter;

– package the concept so that an agent can sell it;

– proofread and polish their own work;

– collaborate;

– research;

and of course,

– write.

The ability to negotiate will depend totally on the number of the bids. Concerning quality, there are no guarantees at any price. One tactic, however, can hedge your investment. Try to negotiate a progressive payment agreement. Request to have performance advances released upon remittance of predetermined chapters/pages. If the writing does not meet expectations at pre-established milestones, no commitment to continue will exist.

A second tactic to enhance the caliber of writing is to fully disclose collaboration with the term ‘co-author’. With the ghost’s name on the jacket, more effort will probably be invested. The glory or celebrity given up in exchange is fleeting anyway.

Finally, offer splitting any proceeds 50/50. Few experienced writers will accept projects on spec. If a talented novice does, it may motivate writing as if it were for a bestseller.

The services of a ghostwriter is worth considering whenever a story is trapped in a screenplay and either time or ability is scarce. If the screenplay is your own, don’t leave it until the reading of your own will. Forget about naming beneficiaries because of interest once expressed in your writing. They’re family. They were just being polite. Do it yourself while you’re alive. Let them enjoy the potato salad!

Copyright 2006, Matthew Evans

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