Yesterday, 21 October 2015, was Back to the Future day. You know, the day when Marty McFly arrives in the future version of Hill Valley in Back to the Future II. That must be why things have turned out the way they have. Time's just gone a bit screwy. It's the only explanation. "Explanation?" I … Continue reading Ghostwriter Diaries – Way Ahead
Aaaaaaah ... No, it's not a scream. Quite the opposite. It's a sigh of satisfaction. Specifically, it's the sound of a ghostwriter meeting his deadline, having concluded the 36,000-word first act of a fantasy novel and emailed it to his client ready to be opened bright and early on Monday morning. In fact, the satisfaction is so … Continue reading Ghostwriter Diaries – Aaaaaaaah
I don't do numbers. I prefer words. All the same, numbers can occasionally be relied upon to do some funky things. For example, this morning I finished chapter eight of the current novel, keeping me on schedule to complete the final two chapters of the first act by 30 September - the first of my three incremental delivery deadlines. … Continue reading Ghostwriter Diaries – How Many Words a Minute?
Most stories share a common structure derived from just three component parts: Premise Conflict Resolution Or, if you prefer: “Where the hell am I and what the hell’s going on?” “Aw jeez – can you make this any more difficult?” “Wow – who’d have thought we’d end up here?” Think of any story and there’s … Continue reading When will it ever end?
What is story? That’s one of the prickly questions tackled by screenwriting guru Robert McKee in his book Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, which does a remarkable job of both dissecting the craft of the storyteller, and inspiring the reader to stop shirking and get to work. At the heart of … Continue reading What is story?
I want to talk about outlines. For the ghostwriter of novels, the outline represents the brief, the whole brief, and nothing but the brief. It contains everything you need to know about the book you’ve been hired to write. The outline for my current project runs to nearly 23,000 words. My finished manuscript will run … Continue reading Ghostwriter Diaries – Outlines
Ernest Hemingway said, "The first draft of anything is shit." Therein lies the eternal dilemma of the ghostwriter. Tight project schedules mean there's very little time to write anything other than a first draft, before you submit it to the editing team. That's fine. The nature of the beast, really. Everyone on the team understands … Continue reading Ghostwriter Diaries – The First Draft of Anything …
It's landed! The outline for book three, the final volume of the middle-grade fantasy trilogy is here. Thanks to some judicious schedule-juggling by my awesome editorial team, its arrival is a whole fortnight early. That's great news, since it gives me two extra weeks to play with. Thanks, guys! Early this morning, as birds celebrated the … Continue reading Ghostwriter Diaries – One Last Time Around
I’ve just seen a beautiful book cover. It belongs to the Czech translation of my most recent ghostwritten novel, and it’s gorgeous. I’d love to share it with you, but I’m afraid the rules just don’t allow it. The best I can do, unenlightening though it may be, is to show you a random bunch of … Continue reading Ghostwriter Diaries – Unenlightening Pixels
Every ghostwriter has to put his feet up once in a while. That's what I'm doing right now. The trouble with being a ghost, of course, is that your feet go right through the coffee table. The reason for this self-indulgent behaviour? Well, the first novel of the fantasy trilogy I'm steadily working my way through was … Continue reading Ghostwriter Diaries – Feet Up