Tuesday, October 29, 2019

There’s Ghosting and then there’s Ghastly

In early July, a post made the rounds in writers groups online and caused some consternation. You can read the original post here.

Most people know by now that professional writers (who rarely get public credit) often write books authored by people who are not writers. Thus, such writers are called ghostwriters.

But ghostwriting fiction for rich teens so they can claim literary novels on their resume? This is a different ballgame. After all, part of the buzz these mis-credited novels get is because their “authors” (not!) are teens. Think “WOW-only-sixteen-and-already-a-traditionally-published-novelist.”

There is plenty of puffery in the public sphere, so why do I find this a different order of offense?

Maybe because as one who writes, I know the joy of seeing my name on a published cover is the least of it. That part lasts but five minutes. I know the real deep spiritual satisfaction of writing itself, and to think young persons so completely miss that boat makes me sad.

It isn’t very different from a rich person hiring a well-coiffed escort and thinking it is the same as real loving companionship with an equal. The ways of the world are rife with examples of thinking you can buy what is priceless. But what makes this especially sad is that parents are buying it for their children.

You have to inhabit real writing, struggle with your story and come out alive, published or not. 
That’s the real deal, kids.

{With a nod to Halloween, round the corner}


Vijaya said...

Well said, Mirka. I will never understand the cheating mentality because it makes no sense at all.

Mirka Breen said...

The "sense," I suppose, is getting into an ivy-league or ivy-like college. It's a misunderstanding of what a meaningful life is about.

Kelly Hashway said...

I wonder if any celebrities actually write their own books. There might be some, but with all the ghostwriting, everyone will assume they are all written by someone else. I don't think we'll every know. I would hate to skip all the great aspects of the journey, though. The ups and downs make holding that book in the end worth it all.

Evelyn said...

I agree, Mirka. It truly is sad when parents encourage this sort of thing.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This was a terrific post, and I'm with you 100 per cent. It's all about packaging rather than content of character. It's particularly sad that parents encourage this.

Sherry Ellis said...

Ghosting doesn't seem fair in any sense of the word. If somebody is going to get credit for work, they need to have done the work themselves.

Janie Junebug said...

The concept of buying your child's way into college bothers me, whether it's cheating on tests or having novels written "by" the kids. It's not only keeping better students from getting into the best colleges. It's a way of telling your child, "I know you aren't smart enough or good enough to do this on your own." I wonder how many of those kids actually finish at colleges they're not qualified to attend. I didn't know about the novels, so thank you for the information.