Ghost Writer Versus Ghost Writer: Who Will Win?
What is a Ghost Writer?
As a writer have you ever thought to yourself, "Man this would be so much easier if someone else wrote this for me?" Well guess what... there are people for that!
Known as ghost writers, they take your thoughts and ideas and write your story for you. Luckily for you, you get all the content and credit for the story while no one is the wiser. Hench the term ghost writer.
I've heard of many famous people using ghost writers to pump out novels but never thought anymore of it. Until the release of my prompt book, 45 Writing Prompts for Basic, Intermediate, and Advance Writers that is. A couple weeks after releasing my book I had the thought of giving 2 different ghost writers the same Advance prompt to see what stories they would create.
I didn't have to search hard as Fiverr.com is a great resource for getting your projects done. After searching the term 'ghost writer' I picked two 5 star reviewed writers. Wanting it to be a surprise I didn't ask for any samples of their writing and submitted the prompt seen below.
Words: discreet, eagle, free
Sentence: Waffles are always better without fire ants and fleas.
Phrases: 1) To cry wolf. 2) Hard pill to swallow.
Characters: Earl Martinez and Hayden Cochren
Word Count: 900-999
I only had to wait a few days, but after receiving their stories I accepted them as is, not asking for any changes or editing. Here's what I received along with my experience.
Ghost Writer #1
Free as Sand
Lile Valley was a viscous patch of god’s will - a desert where the sand did as it pleased, which was to rip through the air like teeth. The sun, unyielding and angry, parched every facsimile of moisture from land and sky.
It was eerie, Hayden Cochran decided, how there was nothing for miles and yet he choked on the smell of something burning.
Cochran tugged the reins of his stead, Siren - an exotic, dire-sized alligator that rippled through the desert surface like a swimming fish. With it, she - who had till this moment been submerged mostly under the dry, harsh sand - breached to walk atop the shifting sands.
“There we go, lovely,” Cochran said with a western drawl he’d picked up from his father. He continued to manage Siren’s reins until she’d pulled the party onto a flat of stone barely big enough for her to curl into a crescent shape and leave space for Cochran and his ward.
“For dinner, we got beans.” Cochran used the jagged, matte scales on Siren’s haunches as stepping stairs from her head to the ground, and started rummaging through the saddle pack strapped to her side.
Earl Martinez was a small man – but firm. Martinez wrestled his leg over Siren’s head and pulled himself to the ground.
Martinez looked up at Cochran even as he hunched into the saddle bag.
“Thank you.” Martinez spake well, an educated man. His words were discreet towards the end of masking his attitude on the situation. Outwardly, he was cool. Inside, he seethed with outrage, and his cheeks burned from the acid of a starving man’s saliva.
Cochran hunkered down and set a can of beans on the ground. The crease of his dense bombull-hide boots whined as he crouched to his knees – it was too hot to try and sit or lay on the stone floor.
Cochran stared at the can, an abyssal gaze for which there was no purpose but to escape the moment. He heard the pressure building, the can bloated as the heat of the cooking beans trapped within expanded.
Then, he stood up and wiped the sweat from under the bill of his hat - a large, flat Montana mix crease – and moved it to cast shade over his eyes.
“Is this the part where you threaten me, tell me we’re almost to New Indi and I ‘better do what you say’?” Martinez kept his distance as he spoke – as much distance as could be kept on the small island of nearly-molten stone.
Cochran looked up. The sky was a deep, blood-vein blue.
“You see that thing there?”
Martinez tracked Cochran’s eye line and landed on a buzzing gullet - an abominable hybrid of a giant wasp and an eagle. Memories of its infernal buzzing - like motorized saws and grinding gears - filled his mind’s ear.
“You think those damn things are always so angry ‘cus they don’t ever leave Lile Valley?”
“Their behavior is aggressive, not ‘angry’. It’s a matter of evolution - behaving aggressively secures for it more meals and partners than the alternative.” Martinez paused, unsure if his morbid need to describe what he knew was landing on the strange cowboy. “And they’re not stuck here. They can and do leave Lile valley often, it’s just unclear for what reason. That said, it is a hotly debated phenomenon that bussing gullets always return to the dune in which they hatched, always.”
“Well, sounds a lot like being stuck to me.” Cochran bent over and peeled the top of the can. Steam carried the savory smell of caramelized sugar and onions. He handed the can; the whole can, to Martinez with a spoon.
“I’m not messing around here,” Martines skipped to his larger point between spoonfuls. “I am innocent, the New Indi justice department is corrupt, and framed me for that murder because my studies were set to call a big alarm against their corporate benefactors!”
“That ain’t for me to decide.”
“I am not here to cry wolf, but I have explained this every way I know how, to you and everybody else.”
“Waffles are always better without fire ants and fleas.” Cochran said plainly. “There wouldn’t be any waffle left for eatin’ if you tried picking ‘em all off it before breakfast.”
“Your father’s limericks are exhausting their welcome, Mr. Cochran.”
“It means you can pick anything apart with and for good reason, but if that’s all you do then you’ve already lost.” Cochran pulled the can from Martinez.
“I am not merely ‘picking this apart’ I am trying to defend and regain my freedom!”
“You’re no less free now than you was a week ago.”
“Forgive me if you sayin’ that with a gun to my back is a hard pill to swallow.”
“Hey,” Cochran produced his weapon, a heavy, reflective, chrome piece. This was only the second time he’d done so - with the first being when he flashed it to encourage Martinez’s cooperation a week ago. “I told ya I don’t kill people.” He pulled the hammer back and a chamber rolled out to reveal it was empty – a hollow threat, the illusion of danger.
Martinez felt as if a lie perpetrated by a parent or partner had finally come to light. What else, Martinez thought, was he wrong about?
“I ain't even tied you up.”
Martinez regarded his wrists. It was true and unexpected, he’d noticed, that he’d not been restrained during his ‘arrest’.
“You hopped on ol’ Siren and rode off with me without even a fight – at least not the kind of fight I’d get into.
“I didn’t bring you out here, you did.”
Martinez took a deep breath, the kind that hurts to hold in.
Then, he ripped into the desert sand. He sprinted.
As Martinez became a dot in the horizon, Cochran pulled himself back onto Siren’s head, tugged her reins and she slipped into the sand.
It was unruly like water and did only as it pleased.
What do you think of this first story? As someone who was receiving a product/service I was honestly very pleased with this short story.
There are a few spelling errors and I would like to see more commas than dashes but the overall creativity of the plot and writing itself was spot on. Everything was included from the prompt with only 1 word left to spare.
As for the overall experience with the ghost writer, this person was super friendly and jumped on board right away. They delivered on time and included a small paragraph with the meaning behind the story. They even went as far as looking up the blog to see if we would be good at collaborating again.
Overall, I highly rate this ghost writer!
Ghost Writer #2
Could I Be More Wrong?
I was on my way home late one afternoon when I heard noises in the bushes to my left. I was a little tipsy coming from the bar but I looked at my hands and I still had them so I guess I was never that drunk.
I staggered over to the bushes and moved a little to see what was making all the noise. I saw miss Merle just standing there looking zoned out, I was about to call to her and ask her what she was doing over there in the middle of the night but my smile was wiped from my face when I saw her come up behind her and slit her throat right on the spot.
I wanted to scream so badly but honestly, I like the way my throat looks. I sat on the floor while my heart kept racing and all that went through my head was, ‘Am I next?’
I had no idea when but I fell asleep right there that night and I woke up to the sound of the cars passing by on the road.
The events of last night came rushing back to my mind and the liquor too. As soon as I tried to get up my brain said no and landed me right back onto my back.
“Earl Martinez?” I heard my name being called a few feet away but I couldn't open my eyes to see who it was. This hangover was sure like no other and the passing cars only made it worst.
“Earl! It is you” I felt my head being lifted off the ground and placed into someone’s lap. I carefully opened my eyes and they went wide at the sight of the woman in front of me.
“Hayden Cochren!” I yelled but soon regretted it.
After I said her name my head felt like it was bursting open, I cursed under my breath and held my head hoping that would ease the pain.
“What are you doing out here on the floor?” She asked and I looked at her with a knowing glance before grabbing my head once again.
Hayden laughed and I chuckled a little too.
"I see old habits never die," she said helping me up.
“I guess not… where have you been all this time?” I asked. Hayden has been gone for years now.
She was my best friend back in the day but her family had to move years ago and sadly she couldn’t sneak me into her suitcase.
"Well, I have been to many places. We should talk about that over dinner don't you think?" She smiled and I looked over at her with a smile myself before nodding my head yes.
She gave me a bottle of water and aspirin, I looked over at her and she giggled.
“I leave home without a pack, you never know when you might get drunk or find a friend drunk on the side of the road” I shook my head and took the pills.
We went around the corner and we saw the yellow tape and police cars parked in front of Warner’s old house.
My face went pale and I remembered what happened last night, it was fresh in my mind at that.
I walked over to the police officer that was next to the first car, "I know what happened last night" I told him, and he glanced at me, astonished, then at my clothes, and I guess he assumed I was homeless after that.
"Sorry sir we are investigating what could be a murder here," He said looking at me.
Hayden pulled on my arm and gave me a look as if to ask what I was up to but I paid no attention to her.
“I saw what happened, it was late last night. I saw miss Merle she was standing in the bushes over there and then some guy came up behind her and slit her throat.”
The police officer looked at me and asked me to stay where I was.
I was taken to the station to give a statement and was released after…
Weeks had gone by since that day and I did not hear anything about miss Merle or what was being done about her murder.
“What is your spirit animal?” Hayden asked me pulling me from my thoughts. I looked over at her and grabbed some popcorn.
“An eagle," I said and looked over at her. We were walking home from a movie and we decided to get another box of popcorn on the way.
“Why?” she asked and I stopped walking for a moment and she stopped and looked at me.
“Because they’re free” I smiled and continued walking.
She smiled at me again, “I think mine is a mountain lion because they can be a bit discreet” She said with a smile.
“That’s nice, remember the time we went camping and didn’t tell our parents?” I said with a laugh at the memory.
“I sure do, we made up so many lies when we got caught that night. My mom said no more hanging out with the boy whose story is to cry wolf”
We both laughed at the memory, “Yeah well it wasn’t the best night for us either considering those waffles we had” I chuckled.
"Yeah well, waffles are always better without fire ants and fleas.” We almost fell over laughing at that one. Those were the worst waffles ever.
My chest felt like it going to burst from all our laughing, I looked in front of us to continue our walk when I stopped in my tracks and my heart stopped beating.
“You know what’s a hard pill to swallow?” I asked and Hayden looked at me confused.
"Seeing someone in real life that you saw get murdered" She was even more confused until I pointed to where miss Merle was now standing just a few feet from us.
What did you think of this ghost writer?
After reading, I could see where this writer was going but the execution lacked. There are several spelling mistakes, and the added details are unnecessary. I don't believe this person's first language is English which might explain these things.
This story was delivered early. The extra time could have been spent editing or hashing out the details more. This ghost writer responded quickly but was not personal with the automatic responses.
The plot, even though having a twist ending, really had nothing original for me to cling on to keep me interested. The story did include the items from the prompt and used all 999 words.
Overall, I would not rate this writer highly and am shocked they had such great reviews on the site.
Even though I did love one ghost writer's story more than the other I had a great time seeing what they would come up with when it came to the advanced prompt.
What kind of story would you have written given the prompt? Have you had experiences with ghost writers- if so, how did they turn out?
Let me know in the comments below! Also, get your copy of 45 Writing Prompts for Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Writers for only $8.99!