I'm making progress on my novel, which delights me because I love this story. It's my favorite thus far. But last week, I had to put the story aside and work on an article.
As it turns out, researchers are uncertain as to whether Bland and his party made it as far south as the region I was researching, but I had a few names of people and some familiar places, and researching those led to other names of people and places. I found primary sources on UNC's Documenting the American South and on a Virginia site, which I cross-referenced with old maps, and I finally made the connection I was hoping for.
Why mention it on a fiction blog? Because fiction writers must often to do the same, even for a contemporary novel. In the story I'm currently rewriting, one character is from South Carolina's old Dark Corner. Although light now shines on the escarpment--revealing gorgeous scenery--the history of the area plays into the character's family and his upbringing, and the impact is had on his morals, beliefs, and behavior. I may not mention everything I learned, but by going back into the history of the area, I'll be prepared to make crucial connections.