I'll also be doing a lot of geographical research in order to fill in Scrivener's Settings Templates. I haven't finished any of these yet, but here's the format:
Edisto Island Plantation
Role in Story: Setting for first quarter of book
Related Characters: the Grenvilles and their slaves
Season: winter/spring The plantation families arrive in November and leave by May to avoid the worst of the insects and the epidemics of swamp fever.
Unique Features: Unusually rich soil
Sights: swaying oat grass, sea birds
Sounds: ocean surf
Smells: pluff mud
I've been doing some research in this area already. The ideal solution to place description comes from actual visits, and I'm planning to do a lot of that in March of this year. But for settings from 150 years ago, today's views are not always helpful. Wherever possible I'll try to find photos and maps like these of the spots I'm talking about -- a setting's details need to be consistent, just like eye colors. For well-known locations, like Charleston during the Civil War, there are several great resources, including a book of CW photos put together by Jack Thompson. It sits at my elbow. And for the smaller details, I'll probably turn once again to another book on my desk -- this one called Tideland Treasure -- which explores wildlife and vegetation in the Sea Islands. If one of my characters gets thrown when his horse bucks at the sight of a snake (and one of them is going to have that happen), I want to know what kind of snake it was.
That's a rough look at the kinds of preliminary work to be done if I'm going to manage the switch from pantser to plotter. More next week.