Trust your Readers

As happens every six hours, AM talk radio had begun to depress my mood. There was nothing on FM to sing along with. The silence was too much to bear, considering I’d been alone all day.

A small voice came from the back seat. “Mom, I want to read to you.”

“That would be great! Let’s go.”

A rustling of pages ensued and my 10-year-old daughter started, “The animorphosisms stood before me. Around each one was an extremely disgusting pile of slime.”

“Honey?” I interrupted. “What did the pile of slime look like?”

She thought for a moment and responded, “It was disgusting.”

“Yes, but what color was it? Did it smell? Was it moving? Was it making any sounds?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t say.” She turned the page forward and back again. “It’s just disgusting…that’s it.”

This reminded me that, in my own writing, I must remember to strive for a “show, don’t tell” process and product. Regardless of the age of the reader, the author must remember that the reader will feel much more satisfied — more fulfilled and willing to keep on reading — if he or she feels a part of the deductions made in every story, every chapter…every paragraph. Don’t tell your readers that something is disgusting. Tell them that the pile of flesh-pink and mold-green, coagulated material moved with sucking waves of nauseating slurp and expelled clouds of stink — stink that could only be duplicated by plunging 3 dozen rotten eggs into a vat of decaying skunk flesh.

creative-writing

Trust your readers and they’ll trust you. Give them the information they need to draw their own conclusions — and if the information is crafted with heart and plenty of thought, their deductions will match your expectations.

Why a Creative Ghostwriter?

A question has been posed to me recently:  “Why would I want a ghostwriter who’s creative?”

I can understand the mentality behind this question. Wouldn’t creativity on the part of the ghostwriter stomp all over the voice of the piece’s author? Wouldn’t it seemed contrived, particularly to those who have read things the author’s written in the past? Or to those who have made stereotypical assumptions about the type of voice the author should have?

I suppose the answer to the question should be something like, “Yes, a professional ghostwriter should be creative-minded.” Why? There are a few reasons:

1) Problem Solving: Roadblocks litter the path to objectives, and often, an author isn’t equipped to hurdle them. That doesn’t mean that he or she in incapable; it simply means that a bit of creative thinking might be necessary for overcoming one or more of these barricades.

2) Perspective Shift:  Because the author has been working as an administrator of some type of service in his or her own respective field, he or she likely has one perspective — the one from inside the lab coat, inside the batter’s box, or at the switch inside the execution room. What’s it like to be on the cold end of the stethoscope? Or on the mound? Or on the outside of the viewing glass? Maybe it won’t be appropriate to include these perspectives in the author’s story, but the creativity necessary for real or imagined empathy (or the ambition for seeking out those points of view) is necessary for delivering a finished product that will appeal to a larger number of viewpoints.

3) Idea Expansion: Every great idea holds the potential to be even better. When you add a creative mind to the mix, what you get might be something you never expected.

4) Willingness: Remember that creative minds are also open minds. In order to experience the satisfaction that comes with successful conceptualization, the creative mind is naturally more willing to allow masses of information to enter without bias. It is also more adept at spitting out a product not unlike a delicious dish that prompts the question, “What’s in this? I’m going to need the recipe.”

5) Professionalism: Finally, I should touch on the implication that I made earlier. A professional (in attitude and experience) ghostwriter will refuse to bastardize the concepts put forth by the author. The creative ghostwriter will distinctively expand upon ideas, make them digestible, use them to inform and/or entertain, and do it all while making the author feel that what’s on paper belongs to him or her…because it does.

Of course, creativity is a relative term, and every human possesses some degree of creativity. Those degrees vary when manifested, due in part to opportunity and to the evaluator’s criteria. No matter how you define creativity, the introduction of another mind to any project, when handled judiciously by the newcomer, can only enhance what you have to offer. Without creativity, a ghostwriter is not a ghostwriter at all — he or she is an editor.

Creative Writing, Made by Hand

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While in the midst of your creative writing, you might find that you’re feeling a little less than ingenious. The screen is blank…or riddled with repetitive, stale concepts. You’re beginning to find yourself growing rigid and pecky, not unlike the machine you use to compose prose that should be fluid and picturesque. I’d like to […]