My next step is to identify some details I might be able to use.
My list of what I look for is pretty basic:
- What kind of common plants and trees does the area have?
- What kind of animals does the area have?
- What kind of birds does the area have?
- What’s the weather like?
It’s all the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The trees are going to be the same whether it’s in Sonora or Nevada City. So I grab a stack of Northern California books at the library and scan through fast. I find that I have to move around resources to get what I’m looking for. Off the Beaten Trail California was great for my last story, but here, it doesn’t have what I need. Most of the tour books are not helpful, though I do find a section on how to pan for gold. I decide to return to the book if I need it later and move on with my original questions. The Moon California Waterfalls gives me a wealth of information.
For the last question, I’ll look online for historical weather. I may not be able to get weather for that time period, so I’ll pick something that’s as far back as I can go. But why research weather? Does it matter? For me, it’s just a way to simply make sure I pay attention to it.
As I write this, I’m already thinking about how to reuse what I’ve already found for a second story. After all, I just got a story accepted, so now I have to get another one done and out. 🙂 Maybe I could get started on a modern day story while I dig around the history a little more.
By the way, while I grew up in California, I’ve never been to Gold Rush territory. So I’m being a book and online tourist here.