Whenever a movie is made, scenes are shot that don’t make it into the final cut of the film. For whatever reason, they end up on the proverbial cutting-room floor. I say “proverbial” because nowadays no film is physically cut. All editing takes place digitally, using a computer.
So, too, with book writing, authors ending up cutting lines of dialogue, description, and even entire scenes. When we finish our first draft, and are onto our first rewrite, it’s all about trimming the fat. There are many reasons why lines and scenes we took the time to write are summarily deleted, as if they are nothing more than expendable Game of Thrones characters. It all comes down to serving the story, and sometimes a scene that seemed like a great idea at the start turns out to be just not needed.
In the case of Noble, there are two types of “deleted” scenes:
- Scenes that were written, but then cut from the final draft.
- Scenes that were intended, but were determined to be unnecessary before being written.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at scenes from Noble that just didn’t make the cut.
Prologue: The frame narrative involving Alex was originally a lot longer. It was a shame to lose so much of it, as a lot of good character development ended up being jettisoned. Here was the problem: one of my beta readers said that they liked the frame narrative so much that they were a little disappointed when getting to the main narrative. Uh oh. Not good. The main narrative was the story I wanted to tell in the first place. The frame narrative was just a device I used to do it. I did it for two reasons. The first was so I could start with action, and thus, hopefully, hook the reader into my story, and have them wanting more. Second, because I thought a kid reading the story would give it more of a faerie tale feel. In the end, I decided that, like The Neverending Story (both book and movie), I needed to get to the main narrative fairly quickly. I felt that as nice as it was, I need to trim it substantially.
The prologue initially opened with the fight scene off school property. Stan punched Alex in the stomach, Hayden (originally Aiden, as in the main narrative) offered support, and the bullies left feeling satisfied that they’d taught Alex (originally Luke) a lesson. We then see Alex at the library checking out some books, then a quick scene of him reading one of his books while sitting up in a tree, and then a lengthy classroom scene in which Alex accidentally makes a fool of Stan again. After that, Alex tries to make a hasty escape, and the bike chase scene is the same as written. Upon reaching the library, he hides under the table, but there is no Katherine character present. She was added quite late in the writing process.
Chapter III: There was originally a very brief cut away to Stefanie’s POV, following the line where Lucas was wondering if Stefanie was also thinking of him. I had a scene showing where, indeed, she was thinking of him; or rather, dreaming of him in her sleep. I was going for a kind of “Somewhere Out There” moment, but decided that such a brief shift to Stefanie was distracting and unnecessary, so I cut it.
Chapter VIII: There was a very brief bit at the end of the scene where Stefanie and Julia were discussing “love” that I ended up cutting. After their talk, Stefanie mentions that it was helpful for her to be laying down talking, while Julia asks all the right questions. She then asks if it could possibly work for everyone. Julia dismisses the idea, saying that Stefanie is a unique case. The joke was that the two invented psychoanalysis hundreds of years before Freud. I thought it was funny, but admittedly a bit self-indulgent, and I didn’t think many of my young readers would get it. So being that it was entirely unnecessary, and really didn’t add anything to the scene, I got rid of it.
Chapter XII: When Lucas and the gypsies are camped inside the forest, after escaping the trolls and rain, there was originally a scene in which Lucas observes Sasha practicing his swordplay. This is how he knows, when Sasha attacks him later on in this same chapter, that Sasha is an “expert swordsman.” Perhaps I should have kept it in, as it certainly explains that line, but I felt that it dragged out the camping scene too much. I was eager to get the party to their run-in with Lilith at the end of the chapter, and didn’t want to dilly dally in the forest too much.
There was also another scene that I thought about adding, but decided against it, because, again, it would have dragged things out too long. I was going to have the characters do a bit of philosophizing, as I am want to do in my books, by having them discuss what their ideal government would be. Since the gypsies are clearly against monarchy, I was going to have Lucas challenge them to come up with something better. The gypsies were then going to invent democracy, while Sasha in particular would come up with free market capitalism. As with the Stefanie-Julie bit in chapter VIII, it was self-indulgent on my part, and I thought it would just drag things out unnecessarily.
Chapter XIV: Initially, there were several quick cutaways to Stefanie’s POV during Lucas’ fight with the dragon. I was intending to show Stefanie trying to help Lucas once she realized he was in danger. I wanted her to be more than just your stereotypical damsel in distress. I wanted a strong female character in Stefanie, someone powerful and capable in her own right. In the end, I decided that the quick shifts back and forth between the two principal characters were distracting and unnecessary, so I kept it to Lucas’ POV.
Chapter XV: Here’s another one of those never-written scenes. There was originally supposed to be a lot more romantic tension between Lucas and Tatiana, at least from Tatiana’s point-of-view. See the backstory on Tatiana is that she’s still single at 18 (unheard of in medieval times) because she can’t find a man she deems worthy. When she sees Lucas doing all these heroic things, she starts to fall in love with him. She’s jealous of his devotion to Stefanie, and initially plots to break them up. Then when she sees them together after they rescue Stefanie, she decides they are meant to be together and relents. We should assume that as Tatiana is leaving them to return home, she is silently in tears. This was nixed because I couldn’t figure out a way to bring up this backstory without interrupting my narrative flow. I like to keep things fast-moving, so I gave up on this plot-thread before ever writing it.
XVII: The chapter, “Cædmon’s Hymn, might seem a bit of an odd name for this chapter, given that there’s no actual “hymn” in it. But there used to be. Cædmon’s Hymn was a nine-line alliterative poem written in Old English. At the end of the chapter, Friar Cædmon had originally recited the classic hymn to Lucas, in Old English. I, of course, had a phonetic pronunciation guide in a footnote at the bottom of the page, so people could read it. As it may become obvious to those who have read my book, I am absolutely enamored of Old English. I love it. I love the way it looks when written, and I love the way it sounds when spoken. If you get a chance, go on YouTube and search for “Cædmon’s Hymn” or “Lord’s Prayer Old English.” Listen to the language, it’s beautiful. My hope was to instill in my young readers a passionate love of Old English, but in the end I decided that they weren’t likely to read it. It was another one of those instances of self-indulgence on my part, and so I decided to cut it. The chapter title, though, remained unchanged. If interested, here is a link to the Wikipedia article on Cædmon’s Hymn. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A6dmon%27s_Hymn.
Chapter XX: The flashback scene is which Lucas witnesses his birth was originally a little bit longer. I cut off the beginning part of the scene because a writer friend told me “kids are not ready for child-birth.” Point well taken, so I cut to the part after he is already born.
And now you know about all the deleted scenes in Noble: A Faerie Tale.