Ghost Writing

A Few Tips on Ghost Writing

  1. If writing historical biography use Parish records, Poor Law record, newspapers of the day for some of the flavour of the times.
  2. Diaries
  3. Christmas letters
  4. Letters

Develop relationship with your subject. This will help if you have no record of his reaction in a given set of circumstances, to work out what he might have done or said.

Maintain your subject’s integrity at all times.

You still need your skills as a creative writer in constructing a biography.

Use story telling skills to draw reader in and hold his/her interest.

Biography needs shape, beginning middle & end.

Historical biography needs back ground information to put events in their context. Ensure this information is shared in an interesting way. It’s all too easy to become boring and worse still, patronising.

Find out what old fashioned phrases actually mean: eg. ‘fencing the table’ = excluding people considered unworthy from communion table.


Primary source: document written at the time.

Secondary source: contemporary but not directly involved eg. newspaper.

Look for the bigger picture. It helps to set the story in context.

Read, read, read!

Be enthusiastic.

A biography is about 80,000 words

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