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Would you read a fiction book written by a ghost writer or co-authors?

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Showing 1-25 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Jul 2011 01:09:56 BDT
Book Addict says:
I believe that James Patterson stopped writing his own books years ago. I think I'd probably enjoy a lot of his books but find myself wanting to boycott him! Am I right in thinking that John Grisham employs Ghost writers too?

What do you think about this?

Also, what about novels that have two authors? I just can't bring myself to read a story written by two people!

Posted on 9 Jul 2011 08:12:32 BDT
Ethereal says:
I don't know much about James Patterson or John Grisham, haven't read them.
If they've proved their worth as writers maybe they feel they've earned the right to be lazy, or in some cases it could be due to illness, but I'd feel the practice is trading on their name unless credit is given to the Ghost. (Even then who'd want to be a ghost writer, but that's a separate question.)
It also can't allow for authors to progress or experiment in their writing since ghost writers would have to have a clear style to follow.

Doesn't this tie in with the thread on Well-written vs good story?
Now I'm thinking more of "celebrity" ghost writers. If someone has a good story in their head but don't have the wherewithal to get it down in writing so pay someone else to do it for them, or co-opt other writers because they don't have enough ideas of their own.

I wouldn't buy the former, it seems like cheating as well as greed, though I have enjoyed a couple of books written by more than one author (not celebs).
The first was a seamless novel written by two authors, perhaps each brought their particular experience to the story; the second book was an autobiographical one divided into chapters, each written by different authors on a common theme. Almost like a collection of shorts.
I don't have a problem with these.

Posted on 9 Jul 2011 11:08:12 BDT
Ghost written novels, as if fiction was just some kind of production line - no.

Two proper writers collaborating together to produce something neither could on their own (Good Omens & The Talisman for example) - yes.

The Other Room

Posted on 9 Jul 2011 11:24:02 BDT
Mister Mann says:
I'd never read a ghost-written book unless it was by an actual ghost. Shudders at the thought of the rubbish churned out by z list 'celebs'. Co-writing is different...collaborations between top authors can be exciting...Peter Straub and Stephen King for example.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jul 2011 14:02:42 BDT
Sammy says:
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Posted on 9 Jul 2011 20:08:21 BDT
Lynne Hawkes says:
It was only after I had read several books by two authors I like a lot that I found out that in both cases they were collaborations. Nicci French is husband and wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, and P. J. Tracy is mother and daughter Patricia (P. J.) and Traci Lambrecht. In both case the writing is seamless.

Posted on 9 Jul 2011 21:10:00 BDT
monica says:
Co-authors: Yeah, Lynne, I read a book by Nicci French that wasn't bad, and I certainly wouldn't have known it had two authors. Sommerville & Ross are the writers who first came to mind, though. A ghosted novel: Leaving aside Romain Gary, who ghosted himself, never never would I knowingly read one. There's a very interesting account of doing so though by a ghost-writer: Ghosting, Jennie (Jenny?) Erdal.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jul 2011 22:34:38 BDT
LEP says:
I have read books with 2 authors. However, if I knew that the book was by a ghost author then no, I wouldn't read it.

Posted on 10 Jul 2011 14:51:39 BDT
I Readalot says:
Yes, James Patterson does co-author most of his books now butin the process he is succeeding to get unknowns known. He works with young writers. If you as an author had the chance to co-write with a big name who you had learned a lot from, get published and get your name out there, would you refuse? Ghost written novels are a slightly different matter, but the ghost writer might be an amazing author, someone who has been writing for years who has just not got that lucky break. It often gives them the chance to make a few bob so that they can concentrate on their own novel.

Posted on 10 Jul 2011 17:51:55 BDT
NickName says:
Everyone is saying the new Tom Clancy book was not written by him. This is different than a "Tom Clancy presents..." book; it is actually a book listing him as the author, which Clancy fans say does not match his writing style at all and is probably not him. I'd tell you all what book it is and leave a link to it, but this isn't the MOA forum so why the hell should I?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jul 2011 10:57:40 BDT
P. Griffin says:
I would never offer my services to be a ghost writer. And certainly not to James Patterson. As a writer your style should be developed over time and with diligence. By all means accept help from more established writers but big names do not mean big talent. Never sell out. Never accept second best and always pursue your craft like a jealous lover. Any author that allows their name, their legacy to be used by others for gain has no integrity. But then after reading his last effort I suspect Patterson gave his up years ago.

Posted on 11 Jul 2011 12:18:34 BDT
P. Griffin - you nailed it.


In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jul 2011 15:51:06 BDT
I've been asked to ghost-write a story, a biography, and I declined. For those reason.

As for co-authoring: yes, I would read a co-authored book and I would co-author. I've got two offers on my table, one I've accepted and one I've declined and I want to co-author with one person whose style I admire.

Posted on 11 Jul 2011 19:57:22 BDT
VCBF (Val) says:
There are a lot of people who might have an interesting life story but not the writing ability to tell it well, so employing a ghost writer might be the best solution; then calling it a memoir, not an autobiography.
Fiction written by a ghost writer seems a bit suspect and I have never knowingly read any (or written any).
I have read a few co-authored novels, including "Good Omens" and "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society". The former I enjoyed very much, as it used the strengths of both authors. The latter was a bit patchy, but I still enjoyed it.

Posted on 13 Jul 2011 21:03:34 BDT
Karen Lowe says:
I made the mistake of buying a 'Robert Ludlum' by Eric van Lustbader... never again! not a patch on the originals. I think it's a cheek that the Ludlum name is in big letters as a brand when the product isn't up to the mark.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2011 14:16:54 BDT
Hank says:
I read Charles Todd historical mysteries (WWI) that he co-writes with his mother - I do enjoy them, but its the only series that I follow that's written by two authors. I haven't read any by ghost writers - or maybe I have and just don't know it.

Posted on 30 Jul 2011 20:12:24 BDT
I Readalot says:
On the subject of ghost written books I was devastated to see Katie Price back in the top ten. Believe it or not people that buy the books actually think that she writes them herself, I do so love putting them straight, tactfully of course.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2011 20:44:06 BDT
monica says:
Better still, gently tell them that Ms Price's books are co-written with Ian Brady.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2011 21:01:15 BDT
Hank says:
Hi I Readalot: I'm curious. How do you know when a book is written by a ghost. I don't think I'd have a clue but I certainly would like to know. Cheers, HL

Posted on 30 Jul 2011 21:40:30 BDT
Cheryl M-M says:
A lot of Wilbur Smith fans believe that some of his books are written by a Gwriter. The style and story and completely different.

Posted on 13 Sep 2012 13:05:51 BDT
lindalinda says:
I'm a ghost writer who has written many memoirs for people, all published by major publishers, and I get approached directly to ghost fiction all the time. I would be very, very loathe to do this - if I had the time to write fiction, I'd be doing my own, but if someone approaches me with their idea, it's usually something I would change so much that it would, in effect, become my book anyway, so there's no point. Ghosted fiction is a completely different kettle of fish to ghosted memoir I feel.

Posted on 13 Sep 2012 13:38:32 BDT
LadyJaguar says:
I've done ghost writing, once. Never again. The pay is lousy and the kudos goes to someone else. It's a bit like "fluffing" in the porn industry .....

Posted on 13 Sep 2012 21:13:06 BDT
monica says:
I'd utterly forgotten this thread. I'm guessing that the last two posters know of this book already, but just in case--and for others interested in ghost-writing--do have a look at Ghosting: A Memoir. Great fun, and it must have been greater fun still for those who knew the apparently readily-identifiable person for whom Erdal ghosted.

Posted on 14 Sep 2012 09:57:46 BDT
lindalinda says:
That's rubbish Lady Jaguar - on all counts. Professional ghosts don't want attention, that's why we do it; the satisfaction comes from helping someone get their story out there. There's a huge amount of snobbery associated with ghost writing - as if some people think that others don't deserve to have their books written if they don't do it themselves. For memoir, I don't think that's the case at all.

Monica - I agree, that's a great book!

Posted on 14 Sep 2012 14:59:44 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
I've never quite "got" this business of ghosting. I suppose if a "ghost" is taking down what their subject relates to them and simply tidies that up into reasonable text it can pass muster as autobiography, but if it veers any further away from this surely it becomes biography. It doesn't bother me particularly, but I think it's slightly dishonest when someone passes off an autobiography as their own work and doesn't reveal they've used a ghost.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  23
Total posts:  29
Initial post:  9 Jul 2011
Latest post:  21 Nov 2012

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