In her excellent article on capturing the voice of a ghostwriting client, writer Nancy Peske lists two rules:
Rule #1: A voice on the page is not the same as a person’s spoken voice.
Rule #2: Your voice on the page should not sound uptight and stiff.
In the first rule, Peske points out you can simply record the author’s voice and transcribe it to the page and still make sense out of it. In rule two, you have to take care not to make the author sound like an English teacher, especially if they aren’t one.
But as for me, I attribute my success in this aspect of ghostwriting in the author’s voice to two qualities about me. Number one, I am a trained actor. I was an opera singer and chose my graduate program based on the requirement of taking several acting classes from the school’s theater department. This has helped me immensely when it comes to “getting into character” to write as my client.
The second quality I usually consider to be a weakness. I am a hopeless people pleaser. This means that I have learned to study a person and empathize deeply with them in order to know how to make them happy. My standard way when I was younger was simply to become that person.
For example, when I joined the U.S. Air Force I was stationed in Dover, DE. Now, having been raised by artists to be an artist, I didn’t quite fit into the military, and I also didn’t fit into the prevalent NASCAR scene in Dover (ever been to Dover Downs?).
However, you would have never known that. Surrounded by a populace that did fit those categories perfectly, I molded myself accordingly. I say this to my shame, because I believe that it is important to be who you are (except while you’re ghostwriting, at which point you should be your client).
But for ghostwriting this is a superpower and a key to my success.
In another article on the subject, Steve Callerame, a writer in Bangkok, says it’s simply a matter of getting a recording of the client, and if possible, getting to know them. I absolutely agree and employ these methods myself. It’s rare that I don’t become friends with my clients over the process of writing a powerful and transformational Christian book together, and I capture hours and hours of recordings to get not only the information I need, but also the way of telling it that fits them best.
If you’d like to meet with me to find out more about how I can help you with any part of your Christian book writing process, feel free to set up a free consultation with me. My mission is to help get 100,000 books written by 2030 through ghostwriting and especially through my writing course. I’d love to hear about the message God has put on your heart.