I had learned about Holly, a marine biologist who collects whale snot using a drone, while doing research for my work-for-hire book about orcas, published by Scholastic Press in 2019. While the Scholastic editor thought the information was fascinating, it just didn't fit into the scope of the book. So I had to kill my darlings by deleting my 160 words and all the research that went with it. To be honest, I was totally bummed.
But I couldn't forget Holly's story. I knew kids would find her work fascinating.
And so, not long after I completed my orcas book, I pulled my research about Holly's work out from my orcas folder, opened a new folder, and labeled it "Hexacopter at Work." Eventually, I turned my attention to the idea, caught up with Holly, and fleshed it out with more research, which included learning about humpback whales.
In the end, I upcycled my dissection from my orcas manuscript by spinning it into an article that eventually sold to Cricket Media. How delightful it was to see it in all six pages of snotty glory!