I suspect fiction. That's a story that seems to pop up whenever a best-selling author is remotely prolific. Now there is a best selling thriller author who actually does do something similar, I can't remember his name, but he does give credit to his co-authors.
If King was doing it and not giving credit, it would last about 5 minutes before someone blew it to the tabloids. He's just too famous a target for them to keep it a secret.
I'm trying to start a literary rumor of my own that J.D. Salinger has secretly been writing Harlequin Romances under a variety of pseudonyms for the past 40 years. Who's with me on spreading it?
I heard JD was writing fantasy novels. I'll go for the romance though. Maybe he's actually Alison Brennan with her 'suspense romance' series.
I doubt the king story as well. I ended up at a party that king was at some fifteen years ago and in the middle of the evening he was found upstairs on a typewriter getting something down. with that kind of dedication and NEED to write, I doubt he would farm anything out.
Patterson is a businessman. He's the first to admit it. I can't stand his novels but he has to be admired in some way for what he has accomplished. A billionaire writer. Who thought it possible?
Sometimes i wonder why this system isn't used more often, especially for series books.
It's the way TV shows are written. We have a writes' room with five writers and a showrunner, or head writer. We plot out the episodes as a group and then one of us writes the script for an episode. Then everyone reads that script and offers notes and then the showrunner does a final pass.
Something like that could work with books, too, couldn't it?
Nope. A mystery novel is too complex. At least mine are. One by itself manages to confuse me 3/4 of the way in. When I said I had worked on two things at once, the other was either a short story or straight fiction. I can see this possibly happening when both mysteries are outlined in great detail first, but I don't work that way.
I always thought a good idea for a publisher would be to create a book series, complete with a "bible" outlining characters and such, and recruit a mix of big name, mid list, and beginning authors to contribute short novels for the series. The big names will attract readers, and hopefully hook them up with the mid-list and beginning authors as well.
But the trick would be wrangling all the authors to do a coherent series, which may be impossible with all those clashing egos.
I joined a group of writers who were each given a plot premise, a title, and the mission of creating a story around them. The idea was to create pieces that could stand alone, but when put together in one book, created one big super-story. Creating a sort of novel-anthology hybrid.
I'm not saying that it was easy, but it was possible, and that making it work rests on how you approach it.
You can view it as a imposition possibly an insult, or take it as a game that challenges your imagination and skill.
I took it as a fun challenge, got it done, and even got listed as a highlight when the book got a good review.
That's why I said it may be impossible, because it relies a lot on the personal whimsy of the participants, and the more authors involved, the more chances for disastrous complications.