A ghostwriter is an author who is completely imaginary. The term was coined by schizophrenic Donald H. Brown in the mid-1960s, after a friend of his wrote a "ghostbook" that only he could see.
When Donald H. Brown's friend Deedee wrote a novel, he decided to show it to his neighbor, Freddie McKinley, before publication. According to Brown, McKinkey seemed confused and bewildered. Within a few days, Brown was taken against his will for a psychiatric diagnosis. During his discussion with his doctor, he created the words ghostbook and ghostwriter to describe his experience. After trying several medications, Brown and his doctor found Risperidone to be the one most effective. And after a year of sanity, he published a New York Times bestselling novel called The Ficus of Strawberry Lane, which gained him fame and fortune and which he dedicated "For Deedee, the true writer of this story." He then wrote a memoir entitled Ghostwritten: The Story of Donald H. Brown, the hardback version of which included a foreword by McKinley, the neighbor who first questioned brown's sanity. The book described his struggle with his mental state and his rehabilitation. This work, also being moderately popular, brought the word "ghostwriter" and its sister terms into popular usage.
Usage in popular culture
- The History Channel special Ghostwritten: The Story of Donald H. Brown, based off of the book, was the first televised usage of the term.
- The word "Ghostwrote" was featured in a season 20 episode of The Simpsons, "Gone Maggie Gone".
- A 2012 feature film, Ghostwritten, has finished production and trailers have been released in movie previews.