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Old 04-05-2014, 10:50 AM   #1
JAMESBJOHNSON
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What Does 'hack Writer' Mean To You?

Do They Serve A Useful Purpose?
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:08 AM   #2
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Hackney is the root word, from the 1700s. McDonalds fare is hackneyed, always the same. You don't really get it your way at Burger King.

But whats so awful about Zane Grey or Ian Fleming or John D. McDonald?
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
Hackney is the root word, from the 1700s. McDonalds fare is hackneyed, always the same. You don't really get it your way at Burger King.

But whats so awful about Zane Grey or Ian Fleming or John D. McDonald?
I wouldn't consider them as hack writers. Ian Fleming didn't write enough books to be a 'hack'.

My list would include:

Edgar Wallace
Dennis Wheatley
Ellery Queen
J T Edson

All of them frequently recycled plots and characters. J T Edson even reused some of Edgar Wallace's characters.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
Do They Serve A Useful Purpose?
The noble hackney horse wasn't flashy or expensive, but they served the carriage trade good enough before they were lead off to the knackers yard.

I'd say a hack writer could makeup 10-40K words in a month and have it make sense. Then do the same thing the next month.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:23 AM   #5
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Do They Serve A Useful Purpose?
Off the top of my head I hear that and simply think a crappy writer.

But I see the point of it being someone who will use the same cookie cutter on all their stories.

Sad to say in a society that considers reality shows great entertainment and spends all day liking posts on facebook and tweeting anytime they fart and then telling you what it smells like?

Hacks are big these days in every field because their audience is too lazy to look for anything different.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:43 AM   #6
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I think the modern hack writers are those who appear on book jackets as XXXX (original author of blockbusters) with hack writer's name.

The books wouldn't sell with under the hack writer's name, but the best-selling author is too old, tired or bored to do more than outline the plot.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:10 AM   #7
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Like a dumb blonde bimbo, they are difficult to use, and serve no purpose.


...I didn't write that. Some hack did.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:16 AM   #8
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Like a dumb blonde bimbo, they are difficult to use, and serve no purpose.


...I didn't write that. Some hack did.
I've always found bimbos very easy to use and they do have a purpose
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
Off the top of my head I hear that and simply think a crappy writer.

But I see the point of it being someone who will use the same cookie cutter on all their stories.

Sad to say in a society that considers reality shows great entertainment and spends all day liking posts on facebook and tweeting anytime they fart and then telling you what it smells like?

Hacks are big these days in every field because their audience is too lazy to look for anything different.
I think of W.E.B. GRIFFIN who writes the same story 1000 times but changes the ethnicity of the characters, the branch of the military, and the type of problem the hero confronts.
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Old 04-06-2014, 02:29 PM   #10
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I wouldn't consider them as hack writers. Ian Fleming didn't write enough books to be a 'hack'.

My list would include:

Edgar Wallace
Dennis Wheatley
Ellery Queen
J T Edson

All of them frequently recycled plots and characters. J T Edson even reused some of Edgar Wallace's characters.
I used to love ALISTAIR MACLEAN back in the sixties and seventies, I was young and dumber then, but soon realized that he had basically one plot, at least for his later stories, and one character or his main character that had the same traits. I would say he started out well, but at least approached Hackishness.

Although I loved his Martian, Venusian, Pellucidar and Land that time forgot Novels, I would have to say that EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS also fits that definition. Boy meets girl, big mean baddie tries to take girl, boy fights baddie, girl runs, boy tries to find and save girl going through all kinds of dangers to find her. Boy saves girl just before she loses her maidenhead .
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:57 PM   #11
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To me a hack writer is one who will churn out a book, story, or article on demand simply for the money and without much personal interest in the content of what is written. The hack element, to me, is not being personally vested in the work. The definitions I've seen have also specified "low quality," but I think a very good writer can be a hack writer too.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:09 PM   #12
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A hack writer is like a hackney (taxi). A hack takes you to a destination, with no guarantee that you'll enjoy the ride. A hack runs the same routes repeatedly. A hack doesn't care who or what you are, so long as you pay and don't puke on the upholstery. It's just a job.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:50 PM   #13
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In practice "hack" is applied to a writer whose work is enjoyed by everyone besides the person using the term.
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:00 PM   #14
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Someone who makes more money than I for an easy idea I had just a fraction of a second later than he.
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Old 06-17-2014, 08:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
I've always found bimbos very easy to use and they do have a purpose
Quite so.

And if you can make a living writing formula romance novels, go for it. It's trash; you know it and so does everyone else, but it's better than being a slave to some corporation. And it's trash people are, for some reason I do not understand, willing to pay for.

I did a major term paper on Charles Dickens long ago and was shocked to discover that many critics, both past and present, considered him a 'hack' and decried his melodrama, the perversion of art by serialization, his self-pity, etc etc.

I think they were jealous. (I love Charles Dickens. I don't know why and I don't care.) If the same critics were accessing this site, they would be the ones that love to post destructive comments designed to discourage people who are offering up their work for free.

So if hacking pays the bills, I'm in favor of it. Even if it doesn't, if the author enjoys it and people want to read it, it's a hell of a lot better than watching TV.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:38 PM   #16
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Guess I didn't answer the question.

A 'hack' is someone whose success I envy and seek to denigrate.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:40 PM   #17
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Guess I didn't answer the question.

A 'hack' is someone whose success I envy and seek to denigrate.
Whereas an 'artist' is someone whose abilities I envy and who has the grace to suffer for it by starving to death in a drafty garrett.
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Old 06-18-2014, 02:51 AM   #18
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I think 'hack' means today what it has always meant: a writer who produces to order. And do hacks serve a useful purpose? I think they must do. Otherwise, why would people keep buying their services?

As I understand it, many writers who we now think of as 'important' have used hackery as a way of paying the rent and funding their more more 'worthy' word production. In fact, come to think of it, isn't that what many of us do?
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:00 AM   #19
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I have a friend who owns a book store. I never can remember her last name but her first name is Wendy. I have never read one of her books. She has written the same romance story 37 times. Names, faces, countries change but the story is the same. Still her publisher keeps asking for more, she is published in 10 countries, and pulls in a solid 50k year after year. Wish I were a hack.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:35 AM   #20
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I have a friend who owns a book store. I never can remember her last name but her first name is Wendy. I have never read one of her books. She has written the same romance story 37 times. Names, faces, countries change but the story is the same. Still her publisher keeps asking for more, she is published in 10 countries, and pulls in a solid 50k year after year. Wish I were a hack.
Good luck to her. She obviously gives certain people what they want, and no harm done.

I'm bored by that sort of thing, but that doesn't mean others shouldn't enjoy it.
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:16 PM   #21
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Someone who makes more money than I for an easy idea I had just a fraction of a second later than he.
Good one.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:13 PM   #22
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Speaking of 'hacks,' anyone ever read "Forever Amber" by Kathleen Winsor? (1944)

Loved it. More than once. According to some, the mother of all crappy romance novels. No graphic sex, but if you didn't get the idea, you must have been raised in a convent.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:46 AM   #23
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Pulp writers are typically hacks.

I used to write for pulps.

Yeah.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:53 AM   #24
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Pulp writers are typically hacks.

I used to write for pulps.

Yeah.
Pandering to the base desires of the many-too-many?

Shocking.

I'm glad our politicians are above that sort of thing.

I know I am. I only ever worked for people who would pay me, regardless of their agendas.

(I'm trying to be sarcastic, but I'm really, really tired and not quite awake.)
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:03 PM   #25
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Neither pulp writing nor hack writing ipso facto reflect the quality of what is written, of course.
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