Please Kill Me,
I’ve always felt a certain level of disgust for “hack-writers.” Fairer points aside, I’ve long associated a gross-factor to the whole ordeal. Don’t get me wrong, I harbor no ill-will towards the myriad of authors out there who disagree (many of them are quite successful). However, in my personal opinion, the act itself annihilates the intended purpose of our connection to the reader.
Picture this, you’re a kid in a small town, yearning for freedom. For lack of an external outlet, you escape to the mighty and mythical world of fiction. Or perhaps, you’re a city girl…
(Wait… Can we still say ‘girl’? It’s tough to know, nowadays. What? NO?! Screw it. You’re all “Groot,” now. Enjoy your next somber birthday song. #WeAreGroot)
Anyway, Groot. Where was I?
*dreams of electric sheep*
Right, imagine that you’re searching for a literary escape, written by someone who may just know what you’re going through. You’re looking for something tangible from the intangible. A message from the other side of your situation, mindset, or emotion. A pure attempt at connection.
Regardless of how you end up feeling about the material, there is an expectation. A sort of author-reader contract. The reader has fulfilled their end by being present and willing to engage in your original ideas. It’s up to the author to potentially fill that void with a wealth of experience, knowledge, humor, passion, and downright hard work. Success or fail, these are the accepted minimal requirements of either party.
Now, what happens when that bond is tainted by greed and corrupt ambition? What happens when that reader’s trust is broken in two by an author who cared for nothing but themselves and their bottom dollar? You don’t have to be a starving artist but you definitely SHOULDN’T be a swindler. In return for the readers’ engagement, the faux-author gives a slack-jawed reinterpretation that was written between rotating chalices of (and, I’m guessing here) turd-needled tarantulas and koala-cub tears.
Worse still, the reader walks away feeling just a little colder. A little more alone.
All the while Hackney-Hancock (great villain name, by the way) walks off to his/her/its next heartless scourge. (I mean seriously, how many times can one person rip off the same horrid Romance novel?). It’s a little twisted. Not too far removed from a comedian stealing jokes or those horrendous B-movie’s that are *technically* free of copyright infringement. There’s a lack of integrity that disgusts me. A lack of humanity. A disrespect of the craft. They’re like a rectal itch that you can’t get your third knuckle deep enough to scratch.
Worst of all, it can stop potential readers in their tracks. Let’s be honest, it’s hard enough to get people to read as it is. Imagine if they run into one too many of those rip-offs. We’ll lose them to television faster than television’s lost them to Netflix and Netflix is losing them to Disney+ (and Disney+ will lose them to Google).
“We all lose to Google.”
*drops to knees*
“It’s the circle of LIFFEEEE…. Omnama-Wee-Nomo-Manana!!!!”
*Not the lyrics*
One of my greatest fears in life is living in a world where reading has gone the way of the VCR, or the Zune, or (for you younger folks) the IPhone you had 6 weeks ago. And, it’s possible. Once the readers go, many writers will follow—surely after some beautifully worded protests in the streets. Then we’ll be extinct too. Don’t tell yourself it can’t happen. Without demand, there’s little supply. Once that supply is depleted, there’s no demand. The occupation dies.
See: Librarian. Milkman. Postman. LumberJack. Steve-Harvey’s hairstylist… All of them. GONE!!!
You can call it an irrational fear if you want but you could walk through your hometown all day and only meet a handful of readers–and some of them haven’t read a book since Michael Jackson was black. These hack-writers (thieves, as I’m want to call them) are partly to blame for that dwindling number. They wear our uniforms, eat our rations, and burn down the base as they leave. All for themselves, to the dismay of many unfortunate and infuriated readers.
I say all of that to say this: Don’t steal other people’s things. Don’t be a hack. Don’t be a profiteer. Don’t be a thief.
Because I WILL reach through this screen and DESTROY YOU.
*queue Lion King music*
Until Next Time,
Also available on Google Books.