East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Curses and spells

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According to my friend Flavio, writers should learn to place curses on their books, to hit people that would not pay the writer, or copy and distribute illegally their work. Some dark, ancient ritual to summon the Copyright Demon, if you will.

Just like me, Flavio makes his living by writing, and not being paid is a major professional risk for writers, especially hereabouts, especially in these strange times of the COVID.

In my case, this past September, a client decided unilaterally that he will ignore the contract and not pay me (playing on the fact that he has voided the contract instead of filing it); the following month, thanks to a mail mixup, I found out that a huge translation job I was supposed to start in a few days had already been assigned two months before to another (better? cheaper? faster?) translator, that had been working on it for two months; meanwhile the editor kept telling me we’d start the work on the 15th of October. There goes your gentlemen’s agreement. When confronted with this fact, the editor told me he knew, but it was not his duty to tell me I had been de facto, fired – it was the publisher’s call.
As a result, I kept the winter free for a job that was not there, renouncing other paying jobs and basically ending up without work and without money for three months.
“Sorry for the inconvenience.”

So yes, cursing these people does sound attractive.

In the old times, books did in fact carry preemptive curses, to scare off would-be content thieves and insolvent clients.
Those were the days.

You could even cast a spell and summon a demon that would then write a book for you, as shown in this manuscript…

So, Demon Copyright Lawyers and Demon Ghostwriters.
And if this is not an idea for a story, I don’t know what it is.

And it’s great that ideas are everywhere, and all you need is to sit down and suffer to turn them into stories – in the hopes someone will pay for them.
And many do, and we are thankful.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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