There were lots of scenes conceived for Not Famous that were written but never included, or just roughed out ideas and notes about. I was always aware of the word count while I was writing and knew that the novel was growing fast enough that some scenes just wouldn’t make it, leaving various themes and characters unexplored. Here’s a sample of things that didn’t make it to the final draft.
While it is established in the novel that Nick’s parents are divorced, not much is discussed about it, and we never hear from Nick’s father. Originally, Nick’s father was local, and I did consider a scene where Nick would introduce Alli to him. That scene was attempted several times but never felt right, and eventually I decided such a scene wouldn’t serve the overall story anyway. So, Nick’s dad was written as no longer living locally, and two scenes were started featuring phone calls between them. One was early in Nick and Alli’s relationship, and the other after they break up. I knew that if Nick’s dad was going to be featured in the novel he’d have to have a greater impact on the story, and I thought it might be interesting if it would be revealed that the reason why Nick’s parents divorced was because of an infidelity, and that the father would pass on some advice that would have resulted in Nick’s forgiveness of Lauren later in the story.
Alli’s backstory was always consistent in my head, but various details were often tweaked. Early on, I considered giving her a younger half-sister that she would also be estranged from, who, unlike Alli, exploited her famous parents, and lived life in the public eye as a Hollywood wild child. I thought it would be good way to demonstrate how Alli could have easily chosen a different path for herself, but as her character developed during the writing process it was harder for me to believe that she would estrange herself from both her mother and her sister. So, that concept was dropped.
I wrote a lot of dialogue between Alli and Nick regarding her life as Calliope Crawley, and what caused her to abandon her identity as a famous musician’s daughter. I wrote some dialogue between them where Alli recounted a story of her first kiss in her early teens, and later heard the boy bragging he had kissed “Randall Crawley’s daughter,” which horrified her and made her realize she’d always be under her father’s shadow. This story was ultimately dropped in order to get back to the main story quicker, and established that Alli’s paranoia about her identity was always a roadblock for her social life.
In the first draft, Nick’s marriage proposal to Lauren wasn’t revealed until their chance meeting at Starbucks after Alli breaks up with him. I really liked having the story only known to Nick until this moment because I felt it would be more interesting for the reader to wonder what was causing Nick’s jealousy. However, feedback from my first beta reader made me realize that Nick’s actions made him unlikable without understanding why he was acting the way he was, so the proposal became the prologue, and Nick would reflect a number of times on it throughout the story.
Originally, there wasn’t even a proposal. It was first envisioned that Nick found out Lauren was cheating on him by chance. One version had Devon catching Lauren at a club hooking up with someone else. Another version had Nick seeing Lauren walk into Starbucks in the same clothes she was wearing the night before, and he puts the pieces together. None of these had the impact I wanted the breakup to have because the breakup had to be more significant and life shattering. So, I rewrote the whole idea, having Nick and Lauren living together, and having their relationship end with his proposal in such an an unexpected way.
Early drafts of the novel had Nick living with both Devon and Jay in the same apartment. I even wrote some scenes involving the three of them addressing various issues of living together. This idea was scrapped after Nick and Lauren’s backstory was developed further and it was established those two had lived together originally, and Devon became his new roommate. I always wanted Devon and Nick to live together because I always saw that as a being a source of comedy as well a source of conflict for Nick and Alli.
Early drafts of the novel had Nick being taken to the hospital after being jumped in the parking lot after the CD Release Party. Nick’s mom and sister eventually show up, and they are all taken back to Nick’s mom’s house. Seeing as Nick being attacked was the impetus for Alli and Nick to reveal the full extent of their feelings for each other and for Alli to tell Nick who she really is this scene felt like it was dragging that out too long, so the scene was shortened to having Nick come to in the parking lot and for Alli and Nick to go back directly to her apartment.
Lot’s of revisions were made to this story arc. The idea that Blake had asked out Alli was not in the first draft that went to my first beta reader. It was put it to give Nick even more reason to be suspicious of Blake. It ended up being a really great tweak to the story as it added another layer to Nick’s dislike of Blake, but also helping to establish Alli’s naiveté since she never assumed Blake had intentions other than helping her music career.
The scene where Blake makes a move on Alli and she resists, narrowly escaping assault, was revised many times. Different versions of the scene had Nick sticking around, lots of people at the club showing up after hearing the commotion, Nava kicking Blake out of the band right there… Nick sticking around wasn’t working, and I eventually realized that I needed to put off his next encounter with Alli until the last chapter.
In the novel, we learn that Alli had been asked out by a guy who is in a Perch tribute band. A scene was written that was to take place before Alli reveals her identity where she and Nick were invited to see the band play a gig. Alli chooses not to go (for obvious reasons) and Nick goes without her. This scene would have likely been chopped for pacing of the story later on anyway, but I never finalized this scene because I felt too many references to Perch before Alli’s bombshell reveal might clue readers in to the band’s importance before they were meant to.