Use These Techniques to Capture Another Writer’s Voice

ghostwriting Feb 11, 2022
Megaphone emitting letters.

 by Mary C Long


 

If you’re going to be a ghostwriter, there are a few skills you need to have at the ready. Excellent writing skills are a no-brainer. The profession also requires more than a modicum of discretion, and an ability to check your ego at the door, as you will seldom be able to claim your work. And, oh yeah – you’ll need to be able to do impressions. 

Of course, I’m not talking about being able to impersonate Matthew McConaughey or Christopher Walken, a couple of late-night talk show standbys. I’m talking about impressions of other writers, i.e., capturing their “voice.”

The ‘acting’ of writing
Whether you call it voice, style, character or attitude, the component is crucial to your ability to get work as a ghostwriter. Because whether you are starting from scratch and creating a memoir from interviews with a new author, or contributing a piece to a blog that’s been around for years, the expectation is the same: the piece needs to read as if written by the person you’re ghosting.

So how do you do that? Practice. 

The techniques
As you’re developing your portfolio, you want to be sure to include differing styles to show a broad range of options to anyone looking to hire you. Here are a few techniques to use when working to capture another writer’s voice:  

  • If they’ve written previous pieces, read them – add to each piece with your own writing until you feel you have matched their style
  • Work backwards – if you’re not exactly sure what they should sound like, start writing, and then edit out anything you know they wouldn’t say
  • Practice daily – whether it’s a paragraph written as your favorite author, or 10 tweets as your favorite celebrities, work daily at writing as someone other than yourself until you can easily switch between voices 


Be prepared
A little bit of preparation can go a long way toward helping you when you land that big job. Challenge yourself regularly and you’ll be ready when opportunity comes knocking.