Are you a HACK or an ARTIST?


THE “ARE YOU A HACK?” QUIZ

  • Is commercial success your goal?
  • Would you ever write a movie or TV novelization?

What’s more important: Integrity or making a living as a writer?

  • Do you rewrite based on editor or agent suggestions even if you don’t entirely agree with those suggestions?
  • Would you ever write an adaptation of a comic book or videogame?
  • Would you ever change the ending of your book in order to make a sale?
  • Would you write about something you didn’t care about if you got a fat paycheck?
  • If forced to choose, would you rather have artistic integrity or fame and riches?
  • Would you rather be Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code, or Marilynne Robinson, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Literature?
  • Would you rather be known as a genius by hundreds of people, or mediocre by millions of people?
  • Would you ever write for a character you didn’t create?
  • What’s more important: Getting the words right, or getting the words sold?
  • Would you write in a genre you don’t enjoy for a lot of money?
  • Have you ever submitted something that you know isn’t your best work in order to make a deadline?
  • What is more important: Fans or awards?
  • Would you rather have a bestseller that is critically panned, or a poor seller that is critically praised?
  • Would you ever ghost-write another author’s series?
  • Did this quiz amuse you, or annoy you?
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ANSWERS
Webster defines a hack as: a writer who works on order; also : a writer who aims solely for commercial success.
To grade this test, check your answers with the key below, and keep track of how many times you scored as a “HACK” and how many times you scored as an “ARTIST.”
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Making a living – HACK. Integrity – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Fame & riches – HACK. Integrity – ARTIST
Dan Brown – HACK. Marylinne Robineson – ARTIST
Medicore – HACK. Genius – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Words sold – HACK. Words right – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Fans – HACK. Awards – ARTIST
Critically panned bestseller – HACK. Critically acclaimed poor seller – ARTIST
Yes – HACK. No – ARTIST
Doesn’t count.
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SCORING
0-1 HACK answers: you are an ARTIST whose integrity is solid.
2-3 HACK answers: you are an ARTIST who realizes that publishing is a business
4-5 HACK answers: you have some artistic integrity, but you’d rather make a living
6-14 HACK answers: you are a hack, but may have some integrity left
15-17 HACK answers: welcome to hacksville, population: you
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What’s playing on my YouTube right now? Soundtrack to ‘A Beautiful Mind’
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