Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No Writing or Ghostwriting?

Images courtesy: Google


It was a few days back as I was browsing the internet aimlessly that I came to know about the book Girl Online by popular blogger and YouTube celebrity Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella). I was immediately intrigued when I found out that the sale of the book by this twenty-four year old had even crossed the sales of my beloved Harry Potter books! I mean, now that is no easy task to accomplish. 

Of course, I was hooked. I visited the author's blog, her YouTube channel and what not. What I found out was this- she was a celebrity in all her right. Her popular beauty blog and videos are fun to watch and I just loved her accent. But Zoella was recently in the limelight for her book which was published last month. 

When it was revealed that she apparently had 'help' in writing her book, there was a lot of hue and cry that was raised. According to Penguin, she did have some help in writing this novel. A lot of fans were enraged when the name of the ghostwriter was revealed, accusing her of trying to steal the limelight. 

The novel's blurb sounds interesting enough and I would love to read it as well. But what got me thinking was this- can you be really called a writer when someone else has done the writing for you? Admittedly, in Zoella's case it is evident that the basic characters and story line was what she had in mind. 

Ghostwriting is a practice that has been going on time and again. Even the popular 'Nancy Drew' and 'Hardy Boys' series have been written by a series of ghostwriters. True, writers often write simply because they have to and not just for the recognition. But would they feel alright knowing that their names would never be known?

Personally, I feel the credit for the original writer should be acknowledged and their names should be on the cover of the book as well. Don't they deserve some credit after all the hard work that they have put in? 

Ghostwriters are often employed by celebrities and other personalities to draft and edit their autobiographies. Publishers often seek ghostwriters when they want to publish more fiction of a well known writer after he/she has passed away. 

Almost all writers are known to have an editor who helps them in polishing off their drafts before it goes into print. However, it should not be confused with ghostwriting where it is is the ghostwriter who does all or most of the work.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts? Is it a matter of ethics? Or simply the issue of being read and gaining popularity? In the end, is it the writing that always win?


11 comments:

  1. Writing is about putting your thoughts into words letting in a person in your world, YOUR world I repeat and well, when I do enter a world such as this, I would very well want to know the creator.
    Fame, recognition, and stuff do come along but for me, it's all about whose words I am reading and loving :) Reading, writing wants you to know that, at the least, doesn't it?

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    1. I agree. The creator must at least be given credit. Sadly, ghostwriting shall continue to exist :(

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  2. Yes, I feel that the efforts of the "real" writer should be acknowledged whatsoever. "Ghosts" too deserve some dignity!

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    1. Hahaha :D So true! At least an acknowledgement for the ghosts :)

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  3. Why does a Writer needs or employs a Ghost Writer ? If you want to write, you must write yourself. If you want some one to write for you, your ideas and your material, clearly the Ghost Writer's name MUST be mentioned on the cover itself. Like " Written by as Told by ".
    When you want to enter the world of Literature, fiction or non fiction, minimum decency demands that you remain truthful as to who wrote it for you. I fully agree with Aathira on this.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mr. Parsa, It is sad that ghostwriting shall continue to exist. But at the very they deserve recognition.

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  4. nancy drew was not ghost written.actually it was written by a syndicate of writers under a pseudonym.there was no single person going by the'author's' name,right?
    actually,all celebrities do ghost writing.as long as ppl are there to read the stuff written by them,there will be this practice.what say,you?

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    1. Yes, Nancy Drew was written by a team of writers under a pseudonym. Since their names are not mentioned anywhere in the book, can't they be called 'ghostwriters'? Check it out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostwriter

      I agree, this practice shall continue for as long as there are books and people are ready to read them (which is a good thing). But they deserve to be acknowledged at the very least.

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  5. Maybe these ghostwrites do it for the money :-/ and not so much for the recognition

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    1. Money or not, they deserve to be acknowledged, don't you think? I mean, these are people who are damn talented!

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  6. I feel that the ghostwriters should also be acknowledged and credited for . Although it depends on the understanding between them and the writer, I feel that's the right way to go about it.

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