Ghost writing fiction is twice removed from reality. The first separation comes from the fact that it is fiction. The second separation comes from the fact that one is ghost writing that fiction. It is someone else’s fictional world—however much inspired by real events—that gets conveyed in my narrative without revealing my identity. I become the person commissioning me after the person who commissioned me had become someone else in order to tell the story in the first place. It is a weird layering of identities.
What I have just finished is a novella. The protocols of the ghost writing business prevent from saying anything about the book or its plot. In a sense, ghost writing is like acting where you happen to write and speak your own lines. I am not sure whether I like it as an experience because the impulse to let one’s natural literary instincts flow has to be curbed severely. What also has to be moderated is using one’s natural expression lest one ends up using one’s best lines in a book where no credit is expected. It is a fine balancing act where you have to ensure quality without spending your creativity because you want to keep it for your own books. Fortunately, compelling lines and constructs are like an assembly line production in my brain.
The novella that I have just completed comes close on the heels of a non-fiction book that I ghost-wrote. That is a combination of science and philosophy. There the challenge was of a different kind. I had to balance between scientific facts and details, the commissioning party’s interpretation of the same and his own unique theories even while controlling my own scientific ideas and theories. One of the two has a consummate storyteller’s skills and, in fact, has written poetry for a long time. The other has a background in science. In both cases, the task has been to tailor my writing and phraseology suited for the themes. I knew it would be a cake walk for me and it was.
Now that both books are done, I have mostly detached myself clinically from them except in the case of the novella where one was invested in the plot and characters. In the case of the novella, I am mildly curious to see how readers respond.
I am not sure what the point of telling you all this is but I do it nevertheless.