Uuuuugggghhhhhh! Like my character as hordes of mosquitoes attack her on the trail, I, too, want to cry out in frustration. Guys–you can do years, years, of research on a subject and still not know the full scope of the subject. You all know how long I’ve been studying the Oregon-California Trail, and STILL–STILL, I am stuck on their first day on the trail. You know why? Because apparently NO ONE HAS ANY CONCEPT OF TIME OR DAYS OR MILEAGE. I originally ran into multiple sources (I thought) saying that emigrants encountered the blue river only a few miles outside of Independence, so it is in my timeline, my order of events, and everything…but because I decided to quadruple check it, now I keep running into sources saying the first river they encounter is the Kansas River. And in some, the Missouri river. GREAT HEAVENS ABOVE, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE JUST TELL ME WHERE MY FAMILY HAS TO CROSS FIRST? AND WHEN? While we are on the subject, can a SME just please give me their number so I can text them these completely obscure questions?
Also, there seems to be no actual sense of time in any of these….just a general…oh, yeah, we did this. BUT WHEN? One day in? Two? If it was a few miles out then it had to be one, right? But if those references are wrong, and it was a different river, then certainly a different timeframe…or maybe they took different paths. And there are SO MANY diaries out there and they all seem to say different things. Ugh. Have I just spent too much time in my head today? Because now everything is mashing together.
Warning to fellow writers still writing their first draft: It’s too much. The editing and research that follows? Just too much.
Of course, it probably doesn’t help that I’ve placed this on a TRAIL, where the markers vary and change. Apparently I can’t ever do anything the easy way.