Did you ever think you might need a ghostwriter? Probably not—especially if your dream has always been to write a book and become an author. Yet, many writers hire “ghosts,” as they are called, and the reasons for this don’t all involve having someone else write an entire book for you.
Today, on day #12 of National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), Toni Robino of Windword Literary Service, a sought-after ghostwriter and content creator for publishers, sheds light on the different circumstances when you might need the services of a ghost. After reading this guest post, it’s possible that during or after taking the Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge, you might realize a ghost might help you improve your writing or take the steps necessary to finish your manuscript.
Three Good Reasons Nonfiction Writers Might Summon a Ghost
By Toni Robino
Not exactly. Much of our work is with experts who don’t have our level of writing ability, but we also work with many aspiring authors who are good writers and strive to be great. And we work with great writers who sometimes get stuck, lost or bogged down by all their interesting material.
As you meet the challenge of Write Nonfiction in November, there are three situations that a ghostwriter can help you to resolve immediately:
1. Brain Freeze
You’re on a roll, feeling inspired and content as your words make the journey from your mind to the page. And then suddenly, without warning, you’re stuck. You try to push on, but something stops you.
If you were writing fiction, this might be diagnosed as writer’s block. But when you’re writing nonfiction, it usually means you instinctively know you’ve lost your way, you don’t have enough information or you don’t have clarity about what you’re trying to write. It’s a little like wandering around in a forest and ending up where you started. If you had a bird’s-eye view, you could find your way, but you’re not a bird.
Given enough time and clear thinking, most writers can find their way out of this labyrinth. But what if you want out sooner rather than later? That’s when you call an experienced ghostwriter. Someone who’s written a number of successful books can look at your manuscript and, within minutes, see where you lost your way or why you’re stuck. And who can also help you to move forward again.
2. Tangled Threads
You have a great idea and you’re persistently writing bits and pieces, sections and vignettes. What you have is good, but you don’t know how to weave it all together. Your primary points are strong and well-written, but you aren’t sure how to organize them in the best way for your readers.
Many writers struggle with organization. Some don’t know how to do it well, while others just find it tedious. When you were in school, if you wrote a term paper and then created the outline, you may have been in this boat. Grab an oar—you’re in good company. You can learn how to plan your writing and create easy and lifesaving outlines, but what if you’d rather not?A ghostwriter can review your content and create an outline for you with your goals in mind. With a structure in place, you can relax and let your creative spirit soar.
3. Telling, Not Showing
As a nonfiction writer, you’re probably good at explaining concepts, simplifying complex information and summarizing important ideas. But what if you want your article or book to do more showing and less telling? If your stories are all summaries of what happened instead of richly painted scenes, you’re missing valuable opportunities to emotionally engage your readers. The best nonfiction writers master the art and craft of storytelling. It may feel uncomfortable or even daunting when you first try it, but it’s worth the effort.
One of the best ways to learn how to turn summary into a compelling nonfiction scene is to see great examples. With your input, a ghostwriter can transform your summaries into scenes. Once you’ve seen this done a number of times, it will be easier for you to do it yourself.
Playing tennis or chess with someone more experienced can raise the level of your game, whether you’re a beginner or you’re already really good. Working with a ghostwriter produces similar results with your writing, organization and storytelling skills.
About the Author
Toni Robino is one of North America’s most sought-after “ghosts” and content creators for leading publishers, with titles on the New York Times best-seller list. Over the course of a thirteen-year career that has produced more than a dozen books for major publishers, Toni has mastered the art of nonfiction. Working with leading experts in myriad fields, she has shaped scientific information into delightful prose and led readers along the self-help path with an unwavering hand. President of Windword Literary Services, her collaborative projects include books on subjects as far-flung as relationships, weight loss and the workings of the male brain. She also coaches nonfiction book writers in Windword’s customized one-on-one program BookWalk: Journey From Dream to Publication. www.WindwordLiteraryServices.com
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