Thoughts on Ghostwriting

Re: Craigslist posting that reads:

“~Need someone to help me write a love letter~~

I am not a very talented writer and I need some assistance in writing a love letter to my ex. If you are interested and feel that you could help send a reply.

Compensation: yes”

HS-D: Oh, wow.  I always want to do things like this–same with working for those places who help people write online dating profiles–but then I always worry about the implications of someone else taking credit for that writing.  Not because I want the credit, but because good writing is so attractive, and I feel like it’d be awful to think that the guy you were into was a great writer and then later find out that it wasn’t his writing after all.  A complicated issue.

ID: I know, right?  As an extension of this idea, what if you wrote a really beautiful letter, and it resulted in the couple getting back together, but they were a terrible match for one another and lived a miserable life together, acrimoniously divorcing in middle-aged and forever scarring their children and creating a legacy of domestic unhappiness?

HS-D: Exactly!  On the one hand it doesn’t seem fair to penalize people for poor writing skills, but on the other hand, I feel like it’s almost never a good idea to help people pretend to be something they’re not.

ID: It’s so intimate, too –– a love letter.  I’d have a much easier time ghostwriting hate mail.

HS-D: Oh, definitely.  I have a vague idea that love differs a fair amount from person to person, whereas hate is just hate.

ID: But on the other hand –– “compensation: yes.”

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