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!

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Creative Writing: Writing Prompts to Beat Writer’s Block

Picture it: a writing room. Everything is set up perfectly — the keyboard has been cleaned, there is tea in a mug, steeping to perfection, and the lighting is just right. A writer, a person burdened with the purpose of creating fiction that captivates their reader, saunters over to the desk and sits. With a quick adjustment of their knuckles, a symphony of cracking joints serves as the prelude to a session of creation unseen since “let there be light.” Except …the writer’s hands remain sedentary. What should be a passionate tango of language dancing across the surface of the keyboard is nothing but a middle school dance where everyone is glued to the wall.

Writer’s Block. See, inspiration is fleeting, and there is only so much “I’ll give you something to cry about” you can tell yourself to get the words to come. Unfortunately, sometimes the words get stopped up. We can all hope that medical and literary science will come up with a word laxative to treat prose constipation, but we’re going to be waiting a while. Much like actual constipation, there are home remedies for the condition, and they aren’t always pretty.

For this week’s blog, I’m sharing some writing prompts that may serve as the literary castor oil and bacon grease that’s going to make you more regular (that’s the last constipation joke, I swear!).

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Creative Writing: Writing Exercises – Volume 1

When I released my first novel, “Broken Promise Records,” there were a good amount of folks who were surprised that I had an interest in creative writing, because I never talked about it. That opened the conversation for some, who said “I’d like to write stories, but I don’t know where to start.” That always struck a chord with me because I remember that exact feeling. Because of that, I always tried to be encouraging to the people who wanted to write, but didn’t know where to start. When you see me encourage people to pick up the pen and take a leap, that’s why.

A while ago, I posted a blog about Exploring the W’s as a creative writing exercise. I had a lot of fun sharing that and so I wanted to continue on that line of thinking. The only sure-fire way to improve your writing is to write and write often. Writing exercises, like physical ones, stretch and strengthen your creative writing ability. You don’t just wake up, go to the gym for the first time, and start bench pressing 350. You have to work and build up to that. For this week’s blog, I wanted to share a few writing exercises that I’ve used, and may hopefully encourage you to pick up that pen and write.

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Funeral For a Friend: The Death of Superman

We all carry traumatic events with us from the media we consume, so much so there is a website that will tell you if a dog dies in the movie. Creative types work very hard to achieve the emotional payoff from such reactions. I can tell you from experience, I have sat in discussions where writers were actively talking about how they can twist a story to make you cry. It might be nefarious-sounding, but why do you come to media, to begin with? To artificially stimulate real-life responses in situations you aren’t in currently. You may read romance novels to feel what it’s like to be in love for the first time, you may watch action movies to feel the rush of kicking wholesale ass, or you may consume science fiction to quell the thirst for curious discovery. As writers, we are always trying to improve our ability to give that to you.

What is my traumatic media moment? The day Superman died. I wrote a blog about where I was when I’d found out Superman died — for this week’s blog, I wanted to share the literary examination of why that’s such an amazing story, and how the writers took my emotions and crinkled it like cheap tissue paper in the jaws of a puppy.

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Big Bang: The Birth of the Millerverse

Millerverse (mil’әr|vurs) n. The collective fictional universe where all novels of A.P. Miller exists & takes place.

If I were to sit down with a Moshannon Valley Junior-Senior High School yearbook and tell you which of my classmates was going to be a novelist, it sure as hell wouldn’t be me. My buddy since first grade (and we still keep in contact), Matt, was the writer. In 6th grade, Matt would write stories, and I’d write to share something with one of my friends. Even into high school, Matt was writing in his notebook and he was writing good stuff. Inadvertently, Matt letting me write with him gave birth to the Millerverse.

During one of my “I can’t wait to show my friend” comp book ramblings, I took a character from a previously written story and injected them into the story I’d written. Anyone who enjoys the yearly Arrowverse Crossover, or got giddy during the first Avengers movie, knows exactly what I’m talking about. That notebook crossover sparked a concept I carried with me in the back of my mind. I knew then I wanted to create an expanded universe. While editing “Days of the Phoenix,” I realized the opportunity had arrived!

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