I'm trying to describe the general action of authoring documents on someone else's behalf. I.e. decision writers may write a legal decision for a judge but because of who is responsible for the consequences of the content, the decision writers' are not credited or considered authors.

"Wrote" or "prepared" are currently the only word I can pull, but they seem to me to be imprecise and lead to a cumbersome and verbose statement when trying to explain what was prepared or written.

For example "The employee [authored/wrote/prepared/collaborated on] documents as a decision writer" -- hopefully, the "as a decision writer" becomes redundant with the correct [verb].


The term "draft"--both a noun and a verb--might work well here.


People often draft testimony, speeches, or legal opinions; these are "first drafts" or "early drafts", and it's recognized that the person who gives the speech, testifies, or signs the legal opinion is ultimately responsible and may have edited the draft. Others may participate--a draft of an important speech by a politician can be seen and edited by many people. It is, nevertheless, quite legitimate to say on a resume that you "drafted" the document, remarks, or whatever.

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  • P.S. You can also draft "decision memorandums" for someone, summarizing the pros and cons of options. – Xanne Apr 26 '18 at 7:42

The first term that comes to my mind is ghostwriter, and the OED provides:

ghost writer n. orig. U.S. a hack writer who does work for which another person takes the credit

Or (for ghost)

One who secretly does artistic or literary work for another person, the latter taking the credit.

A ghost writer is typically employed to do celebrity authored books, and the connotations for the celebrity (and the books) are generally negative. It’s also typically for books that are read for pleasure.

For technical manuals or standard documents, I would use "collaborated on" or "consulted".

(Apologies to @BrianDonovan, was midway through this when I saw your comment).

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