Ghostwriter’s Tips – How Much Info Is Enough?

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Recently, a ghostwriting client and I had a difficult time understanding one another’s process.

He wanted me to write the facts. I wanted to write the story.

Allow me to explain.

My client and I created a great book together. Right now he’s having a great deal of luck with it on the fiction market. Trouble was, he works as an engineer.

Me? I’m a ghostwriter.

Our book was highly technical. It dealt with technology and machines. Governmental processes. Military ranks and orders. There was a lot to know in writing the book.

My client was a bit taken aback when I set out to write the book without knowing what I needed to know. For me, it’s easier to write the story first then come back and add in the details.

Elaborate further? OK.

In an early scene in my current novella, The Mask Of Tomorrow two parties negotiate the sale of an office trailer. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’ve seen them before on the side of the road.

You may be working in one right now.

Going into that scene, I was solely focused on the conflict. The two parties, who would become later allies, in this scene were adversaries. Their later alliance was formed in the negotiation.

I knew the conflict and characters before the details. How much did an office trailer cost when my book took place back in 1982? What is that construction site office trailer called anyway?

I needed to learn all of that… later. More urgent for me was writing out the conflict.

Consequently, as I wrote the scene in first draft, I had a lot of INSERT DETAIL notes in the text. Momentum mattered. That just right noun?

As far as was concerned, that could come later.

My ghostwriting client, as it turns out, works the other way. He couldn’t look at a draft of our book with placeholder language. Often, he would throw back drafts furious that the details were wrong.

They weren’t wrong. They just… weren’t there yet.

I had never thought of this before (maybe I should have) but it occurred to me as we worked out a solution. Some people focus on the details and specifics, while others are more broad stroke oriented.

Bottom line? Writing is filled with enough road blocks. Even the most experienced professional ghostwriters can feel the blank page.

If you need those specifics, researching details before you sit down to write is your best practice. Some people can fill in the gaps later and that’s fine.

Is there a right way? Yes. The right way is the one that works for you. If you can write without details, and momentum matters more, get writing. If not, research first. Get your details in order.

Do you have a ghostwriting project you want to discuss?

If you’re serious about having your fiction, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written, and you have a budget, please contact me via email, or call for a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation.  

Erick MertzGhostwriter’s Tips – How Much Info Is Enough?

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