I’m the first to admit that I’m not usually a big fan of science fiction – in book or movie format, but recently I was given a copy of a best-selling sci-fi novel and I was transfixed. The author captured my interest and imagination from page one and kept me hooked until the final thrilling sentence. Suddenly I was a convert to all things wild and futuristic. Imagine my delight when I heard that this brilliant book had been made into a movie! I couldn’t wait to see how it compared.
Call me a book purist, but the movie didn’t do the book justice one little bit. All of the author’s carefully plotted, unpredictable story lines and meticulously-drawn complex personalities, had been sacrificed for the sake of soulless special effects, a sigh-inducing script, and hopelessly one-dimensional characters. To give the movie its due, I imagine the over-simplification of the plot was as much down to the movie’s PG rating than anything else, but still. Much as I tried, unlike the book, I couldn’t make it through to the end of the movie.
So, what has all this to do with ghostwriting?
While my role may not be to turn my clients’ manuscripts into big-budget Hollywood blockbusters, as a ghostwriter, I still need to stay true to the client’s own story as much as possible. It would be wrong to simply invent new plot lines, put words in my client’s mouth, or embellish the truth. Besides, a good ghostwriter will always bring out the best in any story without the need for special effects.
For instance, I was recently sent a manuscript from a well-known entrepreneur who was unhappy with how his business memoir had been written by someone else. When I read through it, I was shocked to see a manuscript in such poor shape. Not only was it badly written and full of inaccuracies, but it portrayed the entrepreneur as an egotistical, self-serving mercenary, which couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Whether real or imaginary, authors have the right to have their stories portrayed as accurately as possible. Surely this should not be the stuff of science fiction.