Kyoto Protocol – Spy Novel or Rock Band?

7 Sep

Ever look at a phrase too long and start thinking… “That’s a great band name!” Well, since my job involves building an online course for international environmental law, I kept having to research the Kyoto Protocol, so this thought came to me. Apparently, somebody beat me to it.

Actually, my first thought was spy novel. Can Bourne get the US Senate to ratify the document before he’s found by enemy agents? (Hmmm… need a better catch line. I’ll have to work on that one.) If you’ve been anywhere near Malaysia for the past ten years, you may have run into this band. It’s good… it’s got a slightly-harder-than-boy-band sound to it, so in my opinion, it falls under Pop or Light Rock. And of course, it’s in Malay, so… you might still enjoy it, you just won’t understand the words.

This is an extension of the “if you stare at a word too long, it looks misspelled” principle. Or… the problem when you’re trying to make international law sexy. You hit a limit of what you can do with pictures and highlights and start focusing on what you could do if the topic was far more sexy. I’m guessing this is what Al Gore had to deal with in An Inconvenient Truth. So you get a big globe, lots of flashy graphics, and tell everyone they’re going to die.

Oooh! Maybe you could go with a Yakuza story… eh… still like spy novel better.

Sometimes you run into this problem as a writer – you’ve got a cool story set in the… uh, not sexy situation. Such as Other People’s Money, which was a great story about a business takeover, or The Social Network, which is all about people typing on computers. The answer? Don’t make it about the subject, make it about the people. Tell their story, which happens to be set in a not sexy setting.

That way you can take a topic you like (but no one else is going to) and get people really engaged. Mystery writers do this all the time, setting their amateur detectives in landscape design, or on the Navajo Reservation, or even as a 13th Century Monk (those are all actual mystery book/movie settings, BTW). I had this trouble with my most recent writing project. I really wanted to write about merchant marines, but got so caught up in the setting that I didn’t focus on the plot. 56K words and boring as #*$&. That’s gonna sit in the electronic desk drawer until I feel ready to tackle that again. Maybe I’ll have to add so much it’ll get bumped up to 80K!

What’s a topic you find fascinating but others would see as watching paint dry? Let me know in the comments below!

One Response to “Kyoto Protocol – Spy Novel or Rock Band?”

  1. carlamilho September 8, 2020 at 5:53 am #

    I enjoy reading your blog 👏congratulations

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