Being a ghostwriter….
April 12, 2021
As a ghostwriter I write manuscripts for other people. It’s all about non-fiction and it are mostly biographical or autobiographical stories and when a manuscript is finished someone else’s name will be on the cover of the book. But it’s no big deal to me, I get paid for it. The way I work is simple. First I do a series of interviews with the person or persons involved. How does that work? Well, I start asking questions wherewith I follow a timeline, a chronological order of time. It’s in fact just a Q&A game. And yes, it is important to focus on questions that can get to or reveal the core of the subject (matter). And after having established a rough timeline it’s time to determine which events on that timeline are worth to be explored into detail. Then I continue asking more detailed questions about such an event. What was it really about? Where did it take place? Who was involved or who were involved? Describe them. How did they look like? What did they say? What did they wear. What did it mean to you? Did it and how did it influence you? Or not. Etcetera. In addition to the interviews, there is often also the documentation. Sometimes it’s just a thin ring binder containing a couple of dozens of dossiers. But sometimes I have to go through several boxes with thick ring binders containing hundreds of dossiers. Like right now I’m working on a manuscript commissioned by a Dutch Foundation which deals with errors and faillures of judgment made by youth care institutions.
For this manuscript I have to write three different stories of real cases ( read: real people) and the three stories of these seperate cases will form a book in the end. So next to the interviews I have to work myself through a lot of personal dossiers. Sometimes that’s a time consuming and tedious job. And sometimes it’s interesting and fascinating. And when all that is done: when I have the personal information of the people themselves through the interviews plus the information I get from the dossiers, I start writing the stories.