by Jenny Rough
Writer Angela Hunt works fast. In her 30-year career, she’s published over 180 books. “I may not be the best writer in the world, but I do try to be fast and professional,” she says. In the early days, she took whatever assignments she could. “I wrote magazine articles, catalog copy, you know, anything anybody would pay me to write.” One day a ministry representative asked Hunt to ghostwrite the biography of a famous preacher. She accepted the gig, and her career as a ghostwriter took off.
Ghostwriting is when one person writes a book, but it’s published under somebody else’s name. It’s an umbrella term that covers two big branches. In the first, the writer’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on or in the book; the writer is a true phantom. In the second, the writer’s name appears somewhere, usually in the acknowledgments or on the title page, but credit isn’t obvious (here, some prefer the trendier term collaborative writer).
Ghosts write for authors who don’t have the time, desire, or ability to craft a book. Ghostwriter Frank Ball says a lot of people have no idea what it takes to write a book: “They assume, I can write this in my spare time over the weekend.” But writing a book involves multiple drafts of obsessively arranging and rearranging words, agonizing over sentence structure, and thinking deeply to develop a narrative arc. A speaker who excels at verbal communication doesn’t necessarily have writing talent. Same with Biblical counselors—they might be great at talk therapy, but their writing can be bogged down with clinical language. Ghostwriting has long been the standard practice of the industry in both secular and Christian publishing houses.
You’ve probably heard of Gary Sinise, the Hollywood actor who played Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump. But have you heard of Marcus Brotherton? Brotherton wrote Grateful American, Sinise’s book about converting to Catholicism and his military service work. Over the years Sinise poured his time and energy into founding Steppenwolf Theatre Company and honing his acting chops, not his English composition skills. When it came time for his book, he looked for help.
“It would have to be someone who could hear my voice and tune in naturally and easily to what I was trying to communicate,” Sinise says. Sinise and Brotherton had lengthy conversations over FaceTime and met in person four times so Sinise could talk out his story. Brotherton, who received title page and acknowledgments credit for Grateful American, has also written books for Atlanta megachurch pastor Louie Giglio. He describes his job as “taking a person’s work, whatever it is, and developing that into a written message.”
Not all authors are as transparent as Sinise, who talked openly with WORLD about the partnership. Literary agent Madeleine Morel works with about 100 professional ghostwriters, including a coterie of ghostwriters who specialize in what she calls “soft God” books in the Christian market. Her unscientific guess is that 60 to 70 percent of books on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list are ghostwritten. Joey Paul, senior acquisitions editor for Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, thinks the practice is less common with Christian nonfiction books. (Paul defines ghostwriting more narrowly than Morel does and would exclude certain collaborative projects from the term.)
Adam Bellow, formerly of Broadside Books, the conservative nonfiction imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, says almost all politicians’ books are ghosted, and that Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz had ghostwriters for books he published. He notes that most ghostwriters earn about $30,000 to $60,000 for a book but that some may receive as much as $250,000 plus participation in royalties.
Having a skilled writer at the keyboard is smart, but critics of ghostwriting say trouble pops up when it’s unclear to book buyers that the author and writer are two different people.
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The theme of a story, whether it be a novel, film, television show, or any kind of narrative, can be viewed in at least two ways. Most importantly, a theme is the idea that integrates everything in a story — the nature of its characters, their motivations, and arcs, as well as their conflicts and all the events of the plot, to name just a few key aspects.
Novelist and screenwriter Ayn Rand noted that a “theme is the summation of a [story’s] abstract meaning” and “is the general abstraction in relation to which the events serve as the concretes.” We can see big themes in the events of such classic screen stories as The Fountainhead, High Noon, Adventure Story, In the Heat of the Night, and Saving Mr. Banks.
Other screenwriters and creatives view theme more narrowly, as the message or moral that a story expresses. That is, a theme is an idea or lesson that a story conveys about people and life, about how the world works. There is a vast range of message story types, from Aesop Fables to fairy tales, to the plays of Shakespeare and Ibsen, to the latest Spielberg or Coppola film drama.
Whichever way you view theme it is important to telling a story. Following are some key ways a screenwriter/producer can use theme to write a dramatic story:
Read in Creative Screenwriting more about how to use Theme to tell a good story. https://
creativescreenwriting.com/ storytelling-and-the- importance-of-theme/
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GENIUS | Jan 2, 2020
Many rappers view it as a necessary—if unfortunate—part of the music industry.
Shortened excerpt of original article
ASHEVILLE, North Carolina – A recent tweet by author Thorn Mooney caught the attention of TWH staff. Mooney was exposing an ethically-questionable publishing strategy that capitalizes upon the brands of well-known authors by presenting similar products using similar author names and book titles.
We reached out to Mooney for a comment on the post and publishing and here is what she had to say:
It’s discouraging to know that newcomers have to wade through specially promoted ghost-written books with minimal or incorrect information in order to find credible resources. Especially when these house names come with fabricated biographies. My advice is to look to the people who are out in the community, speaking at events, producing content on social media, teaching through shops, leading groups, and otherwise actively engaging in the public eye. You don’t need to only read big names (in fact, you shouldn’t), but you should be looking for people who are somehow accountable for their content within their communities.
It certainly seemed curious that there should be so many writers bearing the name “Lisa” publishing books, and most of them with a focus on Wicca. While a mild amount of digging produced a variety of published works relating to Wicca, with the exception of Lisa Chamberlain, none of these authors have any social media presence, no websites, even their books don’t have web pages.
One other thing that stood out, was that nearly all of the books by authors listed above is that the books listed the publisher as: “Independently published.” Books published under the “Chamberlain” name were either listed as being independently published using “CreateSpace” (a print-on-demand, and self-publishing service owned by Amazon) or under Chamberlain Publications or with (Wicca Shorts) added to the name.
While the Amazon service is used by reputable publishers, a web search produced no websites or information for either Chamberlain Publications or Wicca Shorts.
There is a Facebook page for Lisa Chamberlain, author and connects with the website, Wicca Living. The facebook page has 57 likes, and 60 followers, both unusually low numbers for an author who has published over 20 books.
Technically, a ghostwriter is someone who writes a book that someone else will take credit as being the author. Celebrities are perhaps most recognized for employing this tactic, but often professionals and others who wish to communicate an idea and do not feel they have the necessary writing skills will hire a ghostwriter.
One thing is for sure, all of the names Mooney listed in her tweet were either similar to someone who is well-known for their magical works, or in the case of the author, Amy Harmony’s The Green Witch Herbal is similar to both Amy Blackthorn’s Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic: The Green Witch’s Guide to Essential Oils for Spellcraft, Ritual & Healing and Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More.
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