“Bad books on writing tell you to “WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW”, a solemn and totally false adage that is the reason there exist so many mediocre novels about English professors contemplating adultery.” – Joe Haldeman And yet Joe Haldeman’s novel The Forever War was heavily influenced by his experiences as a Vietnam vet. I’m nowhere near brave enough to disagree with a best-seller like Joe Haldeman but fortunately I don’t think I have to. We agree from different directions. Five Lies Creative Writing Teachers Tell makes the same point. ‘Write what you know’ is good but often misused advice: it
Over the past few months, I’ve been reading Will Storr’s excellent The Science of Storytelling (William Collins, 2019). I know, I know, I can already hear the question: ‘Really, another book on writing?’ Yep, sorry. But I think this is an interesting and practical addition to the list. Will Storr is a journalist, novelist, non-fiction author and a ghostwriter. A lot of his journalism has been on scientific subjects – neuroscience and psychology in particular – and his angle is, perhaps unsurprisingly, what does science tell us about how successful storytelling works? What can the application of the results of
We all hate them – and always have done, from the first parental nagging about homework tasks, through the hateful slog to deliver the 50,000 word thesis on the due day to the routine demand of a professional writer’s life – to produce a specified number of words by a certain date, over and over again. Everyone has their favourite deadline horror stories. I’ll never forget my first commission. I was still at university, working on my thesis (deadline too far off to be the slightest worry), and beginning to enjoy the life of a postgrad student. I had met a poet and
So near and yet so far. Your final book manuscript is in your hands. It’s been researched, it’s been edited, and it’s looking good. Congratulations – you’ve achieved what few other people manage, which is to finish your book. But before you press publish, there’s the small matter of making sure there are no nasty legal surprises lurking behind the pages. Because if you’re found to have unwittingly transgressed copyright law after publication, you or your publisher will be faced with the prospect of making changes and even destroying copies that have already been printed – not a welcome task.
Flick over to the ‘meet the ghosts’ section of the United Ghostwriters website and you’ll find 15 highly capable, hugely experienced, friendly ghostwriters. Plug in ‘ghostwriter’ into your favourite search engine and you’ll find dozens more ghosts offering to write your book. It might all seem a little overwhelming. How do you choose between us all? Trusting another person to bring your book to life is such an important, possibly life changing, decision. You don’t want to make a mistake. A word that is bandied around a lot in the ghosting business is ‘chemistry’, as in the ghost and author