Wednesday, March 11, 2015


There was a time, when I was a wee tacker, that I thought a ghostwriter was someone who... well... wrote ghost stories. Or was a ghost who wrote. Now I am older and wiser. Now I understand that a ghostwriter is the invisible (and scary?) figure that stands behind the purported author of a book. Because, you see, that great writer Elmer Dudd, who is there in the bookstore signing copies of his latest tome, didn’t actually write it. He can, in fact, barely sign his name. (What we don’t realise is that there is ghostsigner under the table doing it for him.)

I was thinking of making another late-life career change. I thought I might become a great painter (the artist type, not the home-decorator type). I’ll just hire a ghostpainter and, before long, everyone will know me as the great artist I’m not.

I have no problem if our friend Elmer Dudd wants to write his autobiography, but realises he’s not that great with wuds wirds... er, words. That’s fine: My Life as a Dudd (as told to...) works for me. But for Elmer to pretend he wrote it... Is it just me, or is that not a tad dishonest?

Then there are the ‘brand’ names. Hmmm, is this a genuine Tom Clancy novel, or should we attribute it to the ‘school’ of Tom Clancy? If I actually read Tom Clancy novels I might feel a little cheated to find out that Hermione Berkrumpah actually wrote the latest ‘Tom Clancy’ novel I just downloaded to my Kindle. Nothing at all against Ms Berkrumpah. No doubt she is an outstanding author in her own right.

At least Virginia Andrews has been dead long enough for most of us to have cottoned on to the fact that many of the books with her name blazoned across the top were not actually written by her. Or is she a real ghostwriter?

Next week I thought I might become a brain surgeon... or an astronaut.

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