In reading through the book I picked up — and to my embarrassment I’ve gotten the author’s name wrong all these times, it’s Herbert Asbury — I’ve also been able to learn a little bit more about California history that I’d either forgotten or mentally skipped over. For instance, turns out that an associate of Brigham Young made it over to San Francisco and the Central Valley right around the time that the initial moving to Utah was being planned, and that this guy made a case to Young to forget the Great Salt Lake and come out to the general area where, as it happened, the Gold Rush kicked in around the same time as well. That particular historical confluence of events could well have changed, if not all of history, then a pretty big chunk of it. The book goes on to say that said associate, frustrated at his failure with trying to convince Young, renounced him and Mormonism, became a successful businessman, went the worse for wear due to drink and died in Mexico. Not quite the fate of Ambrose Bierce but said writer was doubtless tickled to think of it from time to time.
I’ve already picked up a few more ideas from the early chapters to work with — San Francisco’s explosive boomtown growth would have still been within living memory at the time of the crime in 1892, though few would have been able to see through to that stage in comfort unless they were the clever ones who didn’t look into the gold so much as they were speculating on the associated businesses and distractions, from real estate to gambling galore. We’ll see how it all comes together — everything starts in a few days’ time and exactly how much I’ll comfortably have to hand is unclear. Then again, as I’ve said before, NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality — getting something out to work up later. Errors and likely anachronisms will be plentiful, but if the story works, well, you’ll know!
Which is my indirect way of saying that, yes, I will be posting the draft on the blog here on an entry by entry basis. Seems to be the easiest way around it this time out, especially since there’s an automatic word count feature, which is always handy.