I love to research historic events.
Often for assignments or on commission. Sometimes for my own curiosity.
As I enter the life of the historic actors, the play becomes complex. There are no small characteristics in a person’s life. As in Jenga, all the pieces hold the whole together.
For many, reading a fiction book is a pleasure. The reader begins to see the character as shaped by the author. They enter their lives and guess what comes next. A good author keeps them guessing while holding true to the essential person they have created.
Historic research is the opposite in many ways. The character’s final actions have been mapped out previously. Now the researcher is given the task of finding out the character of the subject. When, in their own minds, they guess wrong, they go back to the archives. Searching once again (re-search), they find a new narrative line. Tested against previous action, the description of the subject is altered to remain true to history.
And I suppose that is why I love to read the last chapter of a book first. Here is the archive of the characters. Here is the final result of the actions taken. Now, in mystery type fashion, I construct the story line. If a cursory examination of the book (called skimming) shows the results are what was expected – I leave the book. If there are anomalies, I’m driven to searching the book to find answers.
I like to create the life from the final results, and not necessarily journey through the life to final end.