When I was a kid, I read a bunch of action-adventure stories in the "Doc Savage" series (a sort of Indiana Jones crossed with Sherlock Holmes crossed with Tarzan character with a group of five--I think--sidekicks). These stories were written between 1933 and 1949 and serialized in the "Doc Savage Magazine," and were printed up as individual novels by Bantam Books starting in 1964. I stumbled across them in the school library and read about 50 of them. They're really melodramatic and trashy but they were good fun when I was a teen.
The name of the author of all of these stories, according to the book covers, was Kenneth Robeson. The thing about Kenneth Robeson is that he did not exist. The Doc Savage books were in fact dreamed up by publisher Henry Ralston and editor John Nanovic of Street and Smith Publications, and were written by several writers who were not credited by name. Most of the books were penned by a guy named Lester Dent.
I was surprised when I learned about this (not that long ago, actually), and thought that it was a funny thing that publishers used to do. But it is, in fact, something that's still going on to this day.
One recent discovery I've made is that a lot of series (sci-fi, mystery, romance, etc.) are dreamed up by publishers or agents and then writers are found to do the actual writing. Some of this is published under pen names, some of it under the writer's actual name. As far as I know, I don't personally know anyone who does this sort of writing, but I stumble across them on the internets often enough to think that it must not be that uncommon a practice.
Me, I couldn't do this sort of work. Not that I have delusions of literary grandeur and have already made room on my mantlepiece for a Pulitzer, but I just know I couldn't use stories and characters that someone else has dreamed up, and write to their satisfaction. I just don't have it in me. Part of it, yes, is pride. I admit that I want to write from my own ideas. But part of it is the idea that this sort of writing sounds like a real grind to me. I think I'd get bored by the second book in the series and make a total mess of it.
Does anyone here either do this sort of writing (and if so, can you say a few words about the experience (anonymously if you like)) or, if you don't, would you if the opportunity was offered?