Why hacking?

So….

"Hacking away as an author, one story at a time."

I may or may not be asked but I am sure someone will think it:  why use the term "hack" when discussing writing – and why apply it to myself in my header?

According to dictionary.com, a hack is:  a person, as an artist or writer, who exploits, for money, his or her creative ability or training in the production of dull, unimaginative, and trite work; one who produces banal and mediocre work in the hope of gaining commercial success in the arts

Banal, dull, trite, unimaginative ….  I’ve heard all these before, applied to my own work.  Does that mean I consider myself a hack?  Well, no.  I write for two primary reasons.  One, I really enjoy it.  It’s release, an outpouring for creative energies.  I love creating something where there was once nothing.  But I also like to entertain.  I want people to enjoy reading my stories.  I don’t have any aspirations to create something that withstands the tests of time.  I don’t expect people to call my work deep, thought-provoking, or symbolic of mankind.

But I do enjoy when people say, "Yeah, I couldn’t put it down."

As with anything, people will often call out writing they don’t like.  I am guilty of that as well but I try to give a reason why I don’t like something.  Rather than calling someone a "hack," it makes more sense to say why their writing is not up to snuff.  That puts the conversation on a discussion about the product – not the snobbery of attacking the person instead of their work.  And in the very end, it is all opinion.  My tastes in plot, imagery, and characterization don’t match everyone’s.  After all, I thought the movie Avatar stunk.  The visuals were appealing but I found the story trite (Dances with Wolves did it better and earlier), the acting stiff, and the dialogue wooden.

But it is the top grossing film of all time.  So someone, somewhere, must have like it.

And I wouldn’t stoop to call James Cameron a hack because of it.

So here I am:  "hacking" away as an author.  One story at a time.

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