Conversations with budding authors. (What follows is fiction, thinly disguised as life.)
Author 1 (of potentially best-selling thriller) :
Can I meet up with you? It's about an organisation for writers I'm thinking of setting up. ... I wonder if we could set up something to local help writers to market their books overseas. ... You know enough, you could be an agent. ... What I'm bothered about is getting ample rewards for the time and effort I put into it. What kind of books are they looking for overseas? ... Harry Potter, I read it and it wasn't much. What kind of books do you like? ... Annie Proulx? What do you see in her writing? ... No, I don't have time to read.
Author 2 (Graham Greenish wannabe)
I spend several hours reading his manuscript, meet up with him, brace myself to tell the truth ... which is that I don't find the characters credible, the attempts at writing local dialect don't sound right, parts of it I find downright racist, there are a lot of confusing sentences and I'm not too sure what it is trying to say.
Him: Do you think I need to revise it before I send it out? (He has big American publishers in mind.)
He pays for my air limau.
Author 3 (Short story writer because it's all he has time for)
I meet him in passing at an event for writers and give him my card. A few days letter I find a story he's written in my inbox. Please critique this, he says, I have a deadline. The story has to be in on Monday. He keeps calling me and calling me to see if I've done it. I'm busy so I finally sit down and go through it with him over the phone - there's a fair bit wrong with it, so this takes some time. (I later find that he's sent it out to every other writer and enthusiastic reader he met at that event.)
The story gets published. He's made all the changes I suggested. He doesn't say thank you. His stories keep arriving in my inbox.
Author 4 (Travel writer wannabe)
I meet him at a booksigning.
I have this great idea for a book. Can I tell you about it?
He does. He sits and tells me all about his great idea . It's quite good actually - but it turns out that he hasn't written a single word yet. He finally plucks up courage to ask the question he's been waiting to ask:
Could you be my ghostwriter?