Disappeared With Reason
Some people have been wondering where I’ve been on my entries about the Writing Life over the last few days. I’m still committed to my continual writing in this spot—but I’ve been traveling. I’m still traveling. Today I begin a four day workshop teaching stint at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (a beautiful spot near Asheville, NC). I’ll be holding four continuing sessions on the nonfiction book plus teaching a couple of one-hour workshops, meeting one on one with writers and lots of other great things—no time for these entries.
I am half way on an eight day road trip. Until yesterday morning I was in New York City participating in the meetings with the American Society of Journalists and Authors. I’ve had some terrific learning experiences over the last few days and I’ll be writing about these sessions in the days ahead.
I’m going to write one quick story from Saturday. I moderated a panel on collaboration and ghostwriting. This type of collaborative book has been a regular part of my book writing life for several years. Why? I quickly learned as a writer there are a finite number of topics that I want to write and get published under my own name. There are an infinite number of topics I can write for other people and live vicariously through their experiences—and I can serve them through this process. Many people don’t have the skills or are too busy or don’t have the interest in book writing. I moderated this panel because I’ve written about a dozen of these types of books.
One of my panelists was Brenda Copeland, a senior editor at Atria Books, which is a division of Simon and Schuster. Brenda was the editor for the Pamela Anderson novel, Star, which was released last year. I knew Brenda could speak with great authority to writers about the topoc of ghostwriting. While Pamela Anderson had the idea and story material for the novel, she didn’t write it and needed a ghostwriter. Brenda told about first meeting with Pam to determine the outline, characters and plot of the novel—before they added the writer. Why?
They didn’t want to add the writer then have them claim that they did all of the work and try to take the work elsewhere. See the type of protection the publisher did in this situation before they added the writer? It was wise. Brenda found Pamela Anderson articulate and bright—not her normal celebrity persona. While working together, they determined several qualifications for this writer. First, they had to be a published novelist with a track record. The project couldn’t risk an unknown, unpublished novelist. Then they determined this writer should be either a gay man or a woman. Brenda said they didn’t think a heterosexual man could stand spending eight hours a day in a room with Pam working on this novel.
You can see from this one story that Brenda had my panel shaking with laughter. It was a well-attended and worthwhile session. The tapes are available through the ASJA.
I’m headed off to prepare for my first session. I’ve not had a good Internet connection until late yesterday but I’m hopeful to add another entry before I return home on Thursday. I’ve disappeared with reason.