I love researching facts and interesting points of obscure history. It’s fun and useful, but it can also be a trap.
It’s been both this week as I research and continue to add to my novel. For example, at one point I was writing about my story’s hero hiking through the woods. I thought, one obstacle he could face is blisters. Which got me thinking about shoes.
Now most of us just go to the store and buy shoes. That’s not so easy in my novel’s world as it is recovering from a number of disasters that have left my hero in a place that doesn’t have a shoe factory.
So I opened up a ton windows in my browser and started checking stuff out. First what are shoes made of? Some are leather, some rubber, and some an unknown material know only to chemical companies. It seemed reasonable to assume that leather would be a likely material as you can get that from animals.
But, it turns out that you just don’t kill a cow and cut bits up for shoes. The hides have to be tanned – a process that can happen in many ways. I discovered at least four different methods. Two methods are possible in my world and a third probable if I can just find a source for chromium sulfate. Let me assure you that the YouTube videos on the subject are not pleasant to watch – at least the one I started to watch seemed like it was heading that way.
Sadly, the central California coastal area seems to lack chromium mines, wells, pits or where ever the stuff comes from, so it’s likely my hero’s boots are likely tanned using tannins from the tan oak trees that are native to the area.
Naturally, after all that research, I decided that my hero’s journey was really being slowed down because he twisted his ankle after falling over a rock – way more dramatic than a blister.
And so it goes, three words to an hour of research. At this rate my book will be completed sometime around 2032.
I have to cut this essay short as I need to confirm the probability of a 9.1 earthquake with a resulting tsunami in the Santa Barbara Channel within the next 200 years. The right answer gets me two whole sentences in my novel.
Till next week,