A Story to Tell: The Ghostwritten Novel

Last month on the blog, we talked about worldbuilding – the process of creating an entirely different world from our own, populating it with characters and a compelling storyline – and how a ghostwriter can assist with this process. 

Learn how ghostwriters from Mark Graham Communications can help you tell your story.

What if you have a story to tell, but it’s not “otherworldly”? What if you want to write a contemporary novel – or one that’s historical, western, thriller, or mystery? Can a ghostwriter help you develop such a novel?

The simple answer is yes. The not-so-simple answer dives deeper into how the ghostwritten novel process works. 

It all begins with what the prospective client brings to the table. Typically, a client comes to Mark Graham Communications (MGC) with an idea or a personal story they think would make a great novel. Sometimes, the client has a partially finished manuscript that needs the help of an expert writer to bring it to completion. We evaluate the materials and match the project with a ghostwriter who has the skillset that best aligns with the needs of the particular project.

Next comes the interview process. It’s important to sit down with the client for extensive discussions, either in person or via Zoom. The goal of the interviews is to generate enough information for the ghostwriter to craft the novel’s outline. Think of it like a tree that grows from a story seed. From the idea come characters, plot, and important events.

The recorded interviews are then transcribed. Using the transcriptions, the ghostwriter builds the book’s outline, then submits it to the client for further discussion and/or approval. At this point, the writing begins.

If you’re a reader (and we’d guess you are), you know that the best novels are character-based. Fully developed characters drive a compelling narrative. For a ghostwritten novel, characters are discussed during the interview process, then further developed once the writing begins, as the creativity of client and ghostwriter interact. The ghostwriter’s job is to look for characters’ inherent wants and needs, discovering conflicts that gel in dramatic ways with the plot. At each step of the process, the ghostwriter works with the client to ensure both characters and storyline are developing in a way that matches the client’s vision.

What if you have a great idea, but you’re not sure what type of novel you want to write? Again, if you’re a reader, you know there are thousands of books out there competing for readers’ attention. How do you ensure your novel will fit into the marketplace and find readers? 

Again, this is an area where our team offers tremendous value. The publishing world is a complex and ever-changing ecosystem. Aspects of the business that were true 10, 5, or even 2 years ago have already changed. Readers of different genres have different expectations. Keeping the reader in mind is important for any project, and it’s MGC’s job to guide clients through that process, ensuring the finished novel has a firm place in the book world and the client has solid ideas about promoting and marketing their novel. 

If this sounds like it takes a lot of time, that can be true – but what it truly takes is dedication, on the part of both the client and the ghostwriter. Ghostwriting is a recursive process. Generally, each chapter is submitted to the client, who offers changes and further ideas, until a first draft is complete. Then the ghostwriter goes through the entire manuscript, giving the writing polish, enhancing story threads, and looking for ways to give the novel extra zing. A second draft is submitted to the client for feedback. When the final manuscript is approved, it goes to copy edit, then production. 

Once the novel has a cover and professionally designed pages, it’s ready to launch into the world! Online publishing makes it easy for clients to publish their own books, both as e-books and print-on-demand physical books. For more information, click here. 

Are you ready? Do you want to see your vision become a novel with your name on the cover? If so, please contact us – we’re eager to help!