Ghostwriting is a term that is used in literary or journalistic circles to describe the act of using a writer to write speeches, books, or other texts that are officially credited to another person as the author. Celebrities, executives, political leaders, and participants in news stories often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit memoirs, magazine articles, autobiographies, or other written material.
Memoir ghostwriters often pride themselves on their ability to “disappear” when impersonating someone. Such disappearances show that they are experts in their field and offer insight into the quality of their craftsmanship. In music, ghostwriters are employed to write songs, song lyrics, or even instrumental pieces. Screenplay writers can also use ghostwriters to edit or rewrite their scripts for improving them or pointing out areas for improvement.
There is usually a confidentiality clause in the contract between the ghostwriter and the author that is looking to be credited that obligates the former to remain anonymous. The ghostwriter is acknowledged by the publisher or author for his or her writing services, often referred to as a researcher or research assistant, but often the ghostwriter is not credited.
Ghostwriting, or more loosely, ghosting occurs in other creative fields as well. Composers hire ghostwriters to help them write musical pieces and songs. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a well-known example of a composer who was paid to ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons.
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