How it Almost Happened: Broken Promise Records

I’ve been on a big documentary binge as of late and it’s been a good source of topics for blogs! One of my favorite documentary devices is “what would have been different?” Essentially, if the catalyst hadn’t happened, how different would the world have been? Someday I hope my books, and my work, is the subject of documentaries — until then, I’m going to spill my own tea on the topics.

For this week’s blog, I wanted to share with you some of the early concepts of “Broken Promise Records,” and reflect on how different the book could have been from its current existence.

[SPOILER ALERT]: If you haven’t read “Broken Promise Records: Remastered,” spoilers are ahead!

Hendrix Wilson was not my first choice to be the frontman of Echolocation. The earliest concept that would become “Broken Promise Records” surrounded a group of guys in high school that were talking about moving out together to make sure their band was successful. Galveston West came from a really well-off family and his dynamic tension was leaving a life of opportunity to pursue his music. Galveston ended up being a flat character — he was more concerned with how he was going to reconcile his life of privilege and I couldn’t see his story progressing. I did name the street the band lived on after Galveston.

Echolocation was not the first name of the band. The band, the main focus of the first part of the book, was called “Ironside” in the early concept. The band was much different too — at first, they were going to be a thrash metal band who were trying not to sacrifice themselves for guaranteed success. That was too unbelievable for me and I thought the story of a band pining to be successful because they’d hung all of their hopes on it was the more dramatic and relatable story. I needed to change the band to something more digestible for the time and hard rock was the modern rock genre that was the best choice without having to change characters completely. By that time, I had developed personalities I’d grown fond of.

Danny Goss was going to be replaced & Echolocation was going to carry on. Danny didn’t die in the early concept. In the first concept that was actively thought of as “Broken Promise Records,” Danny quit the band after Michigan, but was replaced by another guitar player. The guitar player I had planned was named Connor McIntyre and he was going to be the savior that got the band signed. In the prologue, Danny was going to come back to the band for a memorial concert, and that was going to be how the book left. I needed something with a lot more impact and I needed something that represented how bleak the outlook for everyone was. There was no better device to do that than death.

Antics was going to die. In the last few chapters I had planned, Antics was going to die from an avoidable tragedy & the band would be forced to meditate on the loss. Antics’ sister, who felt guilty about how Antics was treated at home, was going to fill in for her brother on drums, because she’d been taking drum lessons from Hitomi Kano (drummer for the Violet Nightfall). The book was g0ing to end with Echolocation playing music on top of an office building. I had to write that out. Antics’ sister would have been too substantial of a character to write in that late in the story and I had no idea how to shape her character. I needed a death earlier in the story and to have two by the end of the book would have diminished the impact of Danny’s earlier in the book.

Lori Marshall was almost a guy & almost wasn’t in the book at all. This is where my earliest concept & the most direct concept meet. Lori Marshall began as a bassist named London Marshall. London Marshall was Galveston West’s bass player and he was a sad-sack. Like, a real wet mop. The plan was for Courtney Black to be the bass player the entire time & Antics’ girlfriend was going to be a pain in the ass. I’m not going to lie: adding Lori was a grab at a cheap way to make the main character’s lives worse. I will say that Lori’s resolution at the end of “Broken Promise Records: Remastered” was more satisfying than I was prepared for.

I hope you enjoyed this look into what could have been with my debut novel! Most importantly: thank you for reading & I’ll see you on your next trip across the Millerverse.

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