Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ghost Writing: Zoella and Girl Online

Everything stated in this post in of my personal opinion.

Ghost writing has been a topic that I’ve heard a lot about in recent events. Many famous Youtube celebrities are writing and publishing books, and ghost writing is something that is becoming controversial. One of the more recent events surround a Youtube Zoella and the publication of her book named Girl Online.
            To quickly define ghost writing, it is when a particular client hires a writer to write a book for them, while the ghost writer receives no credit, and the client receiving all of the credit and revenue, although some ghost writers can negotiate a small amount of the profit from the book. It’s most commonly used among celebrities and other to write autobiographies, but although it is sometimes used in fiction.  
            Ghost writing is usually a high paid job, and as I writer I understand why people do ghostwrite. You get paid for doing something you love, and even though you don’t end up with the credit for the final piece, you usually get paid enough money for the job that it really doesn’t matter. If I got the opportunity to be a ghost writer I would probably take it. When it comes to autobiographies, usually not much harm is done. A person wants to tell the story of their life, but doesn’t know who to write it down on paper. So they hire a professional writer to write it for them.
            Ghost writing with fiction is where I have bigger problems. Being a writer is a profession that I think most people take very lightly. Most people don’t understand that being a writer is more than just having an idea for an amazing story; anyone can do that. Being a writer is not only creating the story, but being able to portray it though characters readers will fall in love it, knowing how to portray the story through words in an intriguing way, knowing your way around formatting, grammar, and punctuation, putting time into marketing, looking for agents and a publisher, and being able to push through writers block and times when you feel uninspired. Being a writer isn’t something you just decide over night. It’s something that takes years of dedication from making that first decision to sit down and write a book to the end product when it ends up on bookshelves everywhere. Being a writer is a craft that takes years of practice to perfect, and success will come with much hard work and determination.
            When I first heard Zoella was going to write a book, and a fiction on at that, there was no doubt in my mind that she was going to use a ghost writer. It’s something that celebrities do. They think that writing a book is just another big accomplishment they can add to their resume, and most likely underestimate the hard work that actually needed to go into it.
            It was stated that Zoella had “help” from a editor and publishing team while writing her book, which mostly likely meant a ghost writer. However, I think that many of her fans didn’t know what ghost writing was, or how often it’s used in society. Most of her fans were quick to defend her and throw criticism at those who dared to say that she didn’t write her own book, when in reality, it was probably true. Is anything wrong with using a ghost writer? No, and it’s also completely legal. I think her fans just wanted to believe that Zoella was extremely talented and could do anything she wanted. However, not everyone had the talent to be an amazing writer, and certainly not everyone has to talent to write a bestselling book over the course of one or two years.
            Zoella most likely made the decision to write the book to help her with her personal image. It’s a big accomplishment to post around the internet, and it draws people’s attention and will likely bring in views.  Being a fan of Zoella myself, I don’t discredit any of her talent, and I love her Youtube videos. However, I just find something unsettling about those who use a ghost writer for a fiction book and then take all of the credit for themselves. Seeing Zoella on a book tour and going around signing copies of a book she very likely didn’t write just bothers me. People don’t hire people to paint a picture for them and then call the painting their own, so why should writing be any different?
            I just think that most people think having a good idea the only think you need in order to write a book, but the art of writing goes much deeper than that, and I feel that people who use ghost writers almost don’t respect the art of writing.
            These are just my personal opinions on this topic. Please leave any personal opinions on ghost writing in the comments!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Update 11

Oh wow, it seems as if I’ve taken quite a large hiatus from updating this blog and I do greatly apologize for that. However, I’ve been incredibly busy lately and this blog and my writing have really taken a backseat to everything else going on right now.
            For starters, I started college this fall and my classes and school work for that obviously comes first for me. I wouldn’t even say that the work load if currently worse that what I’ve had in high school, but it’s just different and I’ve been adjusting to that. I’m only in class for about eleven hours a week, compared to the thirty five I’m used to in high school, but college does require a lot of work outside of class. I do also work about 18 hours each week, which still doesn’t add up to the amount of time I spent in school during high school, but it keeps me busy.
            Being completely honest, I’ve developed what I would call a new mindset now that I’ve hit college and writing is becoming less and less important to me. I hate to admit it but it’s true. For those people who don’t know I’m pursuing a degree in biochemistry and I’ve now been spending more time thinking about what I’m going to do with my life. I’ve had to think about what I am going to do doing once I’m done with my degree and what things I need to start doing now in order to get to be successful later. I’ve recently been offered a job as a lab assistant which I’m hoping will help me obtain jobs in the future. I’ve had to think about what kind of jobs I can get once I graduate and if it’s possible to also go into graduate study while I have a job. I’ve also had to consider for the first time what I would do it I would have to move out of state, something I’ve never even considered before, since the best paying jobs in my field are all in different states. I’m slowly trying to develop a plan for my future and I’m having a hard time trying to fit writing into that plan.
            Part of my lack of recent writing is a lack of inspiration on my end. I want to get away from writing young adult literature and try my hand at writing something that had meaning to it, but I’m having a hard time trying to think of something I would enjoy writing. I’m also having trouble writing the stories I’ve already started, in particular The Unusual Isles sequel. Since there seems to be a lack of interest in the book itself, even within my friends and family, I’m very, very, hesitant to continue writing the sequel I have planned out. With the sequel to The Unusual Isles, the book would be pointless without having read the first book, and if nobody has read the first book, what’s the point of writing the sequel? I wanted to put my concentration and focus into another novel or even short story that could stand by itself, and would then have a chance at being successful and interesting. The problem with those stories is that although I am in love with the plot lines, I’m having a hard time putting the story down on paper through characters that I’m having a hard time connecting with. I could easily write the sequel to The Unusual Isles because I am already so invested into the story and the characters, but if nobody else it, I don’t see the point in writing the book, which I honestly find heart breaking.
            I am very surprised with myself that I’ve ended up reaching this point with my writing. In the summer I just came from a huge personal victory in my writing after my experience in ANGA. My writing had improved a ton and I thought that would give me the motivation to write more. However, even since ANGA ended, my writing career and self-motivation just ended up entering a downhill spiral.
            As of right now, I don’t know what I’m going to do any more. I don’t know if The Unusual Isles sequel will ever be written, or any of the other novels I had planned. And I don’t know if I will even end up finishing another novel again.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Book Recommendation: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Not only am I recommending this because it is a great book, it is also because other than the Alex Rider series, no other book had ever effected my writing as much as this book did.
            The story is about a girl named Cather “Cath” who is a student about to go to college. She has social anxiety and doesn’t like crowds so living alone in a dorm scared her tremendously. Her roommate Regan is a scary and intimidating upperclassman, but she eventually warms up to Cath and helps her overcome her anxiety slightly. She gets accepted into a junior level writing class as a freshman taught by a best-selling author. However, after submitting one of her “Simon Snow” fanficitons for one of her class assignments, she gets a reality check that although she put work and effort into her fanfiction, it is considered plagiarism in the literary world. Throughout her first year in college she must juggle her anxiety, her love of the fictional character Simon Snow and her desire for him to end up in a relationship with his best friend Baz, her twin sister Wren who is out every weekend getting drunk, Regan’s ex-boyfriend Levi who constantly hangs around her room bothering her, her unstable father who struggles with his advertising job, a boy named Nick who she writes stories with in her spare time, her mother she never wants to see again, and her internal struggle about whether or not she’s cut out to be a fiction writer.
            This is a great story over all with an amazing plot and amazing characters to go along with it. You really can’t help but empathize with Cath throughout her journey in college and you really hope for the best for her. The reason I like it so much is because although it is a young adult book, it is for an older age group within the genre, which I really appreciated. This was also a great book for me to read at this time considering the fact that I read it the spring before I started college.
            I think this is a great coming of age novel for an older audience, and I really recommend high school students, especially those about to go off to college read this book. I think those with anxiety would also find this book helpful if they’re afraid of going to college. I think they could really relate to Cath’s character, and she could serve as a role model to them on how to get through college. I would also recommend it to anyone who is considering going into the creative writing field, because this book really gave me a good outlook on writing and other things of that nature.
            The reason this book affected me so much was because of one thing very small think I learned about writing. Considering the book follows Cath’s dream of becoming a fiction writer, writing plays a huge part in the story. One piece of advice Cath’s professor tells her when she’s about to give up on writing it to “write about what you know”. That statement had such a huge impact on my writing ever since reading that book.
            It’s most evident in a lot of my ANGA stories where I write about things that I have experienced or can relate to in my life such as going to college, living in Michigan, or being an only child. I began to take little bits of things I learned from personal experience and I began to incorporate them into my stories, even if it’s only a small part of it. I began to realize that this actually helped my writing become better, and it helped me to write something I was proud of. Relating my personal experience back to a fictional story helped me connect with the story better, and overall helped it to become more realistic and emotional. Write what you know is now advice that I would give to any writer, because I do think can really help out when writing.
            Overall, the book had an interesting plot with relatable and realistic characters. It was a bit of a cute comedic romance, but there’s wasn’t too much romance to consider it a full out romance story. The main plot really follows Cath and her personal journey through college, and her struggles and successes are something I think all people can learn something from.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Writer Problem #2 The Mind of a Writer

A writer’s mind is a dangerous place to be. I think it would be almost at an identical level with a person in an insane asylum. With all the constant stories swirling around, little side plots that may or may not be relevant, the characters that want you to bring them back from the dead, and all of the voices yelling at you because you haven’t written anything in days, you could easily find yourself wandering around lost in there.
In my opinion, in order to be a writer, you have to have a certain mind. You have to be able to visualize events playing out in your head. You have to be able to create characters that the reader will not only fall in love with, but will remember long after they set down the book. You have to be able to deal with and ignore the five different voices in your head telling you to go on Facebook, check your Twitter account, or even check your email the second you sit down to start writing. You also sometimes get the voices of your characters nagging you in your head when you take an extended hiatus for the book, because a writer is only “a bunch of different people trying to be one person.”
            When people hear the word creative, most people automatically think of artists, painters, sculptors, and all people associated with “visual” arts. All the art students got voted most creative in my senior year mock elections and when asked to define “art” most people in my humanities class responded referring only to types of visual art. Most people’s first thought is rarely ever writers. However, I would like to change that concept. I think that writers are the most creative people of all.
            Not to discredit those who are painters and such, because it does take a great amount of talent to visualize a picture in their head and then replicate it on paper. However, a writer is constantly stretching their mind beyond its limits, always thinking of different and unique plot elements. Planning the big reveal of a story is not easy, and making sure the reader will react to it is even harder. That comes with a lot of planning, and also creativity in how a writer presents the plot twists and conflicts. Not the everyday person would think the identity of the killer would be decided by an acorn left in the bathroom that somehow contradicted with a suspect’s alibi who claimed he lived by the ocean. Even as ridiculous as that sounds, great writers make it work so it makes complete sense while also leaving the reader crying.
            I also think that we’re all criminally insane to a certain extent, even if it’s only a small amount, but we have the capacity to aim that energy towards writing, and not at actual people. Being a writer is one of the only jobs where it is encouraged to be slightly insane. There’s no fun in it if you’re not. You might have already heard never to check a writer’s search history, and I will advise you to not do it. It’s almost constantly filled with searches on tasteless poison, different models of guns, modern torture practices, and how long it takes a person to bleed to death. If you happen to stumble upon something like this on any writer’s computer, don’t be alarmed and call the cops, it’s just part of the job. Think of it as only research. You have to do research with any other job you do, and that’s what it is. Everyone is just jealous because research for writers is way more fun than other jobs.
            I’ve spoken to enough writers to know that some will find joy in making the perfect partner of their character only to find even more joy in ripping them apart at the most unfortunate time and having either one of both of them dead by the end of the story. Writers will laugh like a mad man when they kill off the main character of their story, and will give them the most gruesome death, knowing how it will rip the reader’s heart to shreds( there are also a lot of people, myself included who will cry when we do this). I think this is where you will start to believe me when I say we’re all insane. I once got an edit back from an editor correcting me on the fact that a human body when preserved and rationed the right way will sustain a person for a month, and not just a couple of weeks as I had stated. I found the edit amusing, while also helpful. I wouldn’t want to have wrong information in my story and offend the cannibals of the world now would I?
            We throw all rules of grammar and spelling out the window if we see it fit. People might think that we’re the grammar Nazis of the world, but we can be the complete opposite when we want to be. Whoever said that you can’t start a sentence with “and” or “because.” I will do what I want. Why you ask? Because I can. Spell check will try to tell us it’s not a sentence, but we won’t care the slightest bit. The green squiggly line will get on the nerves of people with OCD, but other than that, a writer will push through it. We defy the normal boring spellings of names in today’s society. Who said that you can’t spell Kayla like “Cayla” or “Kaela”. Variety makes things memorable and interesting. When characters are from the south, we will defy the rules of spelling and grammar and throw around words like “youngen”, “gunna”, “’nother” and “yer” for the sake of dialogue. It sounds way more authentic that way in the first place.
            And no one has really known true frustration until they have dealt with the horrible disease that is writers block. It sneaks up on you from behind and has your mind working overtime trying to think of ways to fix the problem, while ultimately getting nowhere. You may have a perfectly amazing idea for a story plotted out in your head, but can’t figure out the way to put it down in words once you go to actually write it. You might be one hundred pages into you novel only to realize that you have no way for the main character to confront the antagonist so you reread the hundred pages over and over trying to come up with ways to fix it only to realize the only way of resolving the problem is to rewrite the entire thing. Writers block is what drives us to actual insanity, and not the good kind that helps us as writers.
            Overall, yes we are a bit crazy, and no we will not deny that we sometimes go slightly off the edge in order to do our job correctly. We write because we feel there are stories that need to be told, and we are the only ones who have the ability to tell them. We have the ability to move someone to tears with only words and also the ability to bring a reader to absolute rage the next chapter. We are our own race of people. I am a writer. And I am proud to be one.