Deleted Supernatural Stuff Part 1
The first completed draft of The Supernatural Survival Guide was several thousand words over the ideal word count. What can I say? I was so into the topic and my research was uncovering heaps of really cool info… and… well… I got a little carried away.
So there was a great deal of pruning to be done before the book reached publication. Over the course of five drafts, I slowly whittled away a few thousand words. But it was still too long. When the book went into the editing phase, my editor Mary suggested further cuts. Eventually, the word count came down to something that was able to be whipped into shape.
But what sort of material was cut from the book?
There were a lot of superfluous words that were easy to get rid of. It was simply a case of me being a wee bit verbose and taking a hundred words to explain something that could be more clearly and concisely explained in twenty. Then there was the doubling up of information in different parts of the book. This too, was easy to get rid of.
Things got harder from there.
Cutting whole slabs of information that were not close enough to the topic. That was harder.
Now that the book has been out in the world for almost six months, I decided to revisit those early drafts and collect some of the cut material into a few blog posts.
So, to start things off, here’s a little fact box that was originally in the “Zoology versus Crytozoology” subsection from Chapter 6: Cryptozoology…
ZSL & RZS NSW
There are many zoological societies in Australia and around the world. The oldest in the world is The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – a professional scientific organisation formed in 1826. It operates the London Zoo and the Whipsnade Zoo, as well as the Institute of Zoology, and it publishes the Journal of Zoology. Check out their website: https://www.zsl.org
Formed in 1879, the Royal Zoological Society of NSW (RZS NSW) is the oldest zoological society in Australia. It aims to “promote and advance the science of zoology as a scientific discipline, and to protect, preserve and conserve the indigenous animals of Australasia and their associated habitats.” Check out their website: https://www.rzsnsw.org.au
The following chapter, Hairy Ape Things, lost this amusing little snippet…
In 2016, Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed to have seen a group of three Yeti while on a helicopter flight.
Chapter 9: Ultra Weird Beasties, contains info on the Mothamn, Mongolian Death Worm and Chupacabra. But this little beast end up being removed…
Name: Vampire Cat
Also know as: Beast of Bladenboro [I reckon Count Catula would have been a better name.]
Location: Bladenboro, North Carolina, USA
Description: A large cat-like creature, about a metre in length, that is also described as part bear and part panther. It has been reported by different witnesses as either being sleek and black, or having bushy brownish fur.
Info: This creature was reported around the town of Bladenboro in the 1950s and again in the 2000s. After the first sightings, the town was in a panic. The town’s police chief organised a hunt for the creature, which got national publicity and attracted hunters from far and wide. But the hunters were unable to find any evidence of the creature. A short time later, a local farmer, Luther Davis, found a bobcat in an animal trap and killed it. Sightings stopped shortly thereafter.
1954: In January, Mrs. C.E. Kinlaw reported seeing a large cat-like creature stalking towards her when she went outside at 7:30am. She screamed and ran inside. She and her husband later found cat-like footprints.
1954: In December, a farmer reported that a cat-like beast attacked one of his dogs and dragged it off.
1955: Early in the year, numerous dogs were found dead with very little blood left in them. Their deaths were attributed to the vampire cat.
Sightings calmed down after the bobcat was killed, so maybe it was the culprit.
The town’s Mayor Woodrow Fussell claimed the beast was a hoax… but that didn’t stop the town from using the publicity to attract tourists. Fussell even booked a horror movie called The Big Cat to play at the local theatre at the height of all the excitement.
Most cryptozoologists think a vampire cat is unlikely and some of them think that what people probably saw was a cougar.
The above information and the chapters from which it was removed, are from the book’s second section, BEASTLY STUFF. This was originally the first section of the book, but it was moved into second place during editing. We decided that it was better to lead off with UFOs, as that would be a more familiar topic for the middle school age group that this book was aimed at. In addition to being moved around, the BEASTLY STUFF section also lost an entire chapter. I’ll share that chapter with you next week.