Right here, right now, I shall confess. I love research. The long hours poring over texts and maps and photos and art, putting pieces of the past together or testing if an invention might work or if a theory might fit into real elements of history and create a new conclusion…yes, I love it. I spent so many hours in the library during one period that a librarian friend asked if I wrote books as an excuse to do research. It made me wonder.
Building fictional stories that have a foundation in real science or history requires lots of intense scrutiny and research into all manners of history and science. Yay! I can really get lost in a good book or pile of books. And maps. And old photos. Stitching together pieces of the past is enormously fun. Even more fun is creating a world that includes those pieces. What if…?I ask myself this all the time.
When we look into the past- a real life world event; a murder mystery; a natural disaster- we are looking at a snippet, a piece of a bigger whole. Historians link snippets and draw conclusions and theories. We, as authors, create worlds around those snippets. We can uncover information that can be read in different ways than they originally unfolded…or in a way they may have. We can rework the story to reach the conclusion from a different path. By building a fictional story around real life events, we have the building blocks and framework set for us, but we then paint the picture around them. It’s exciting to see how stories can be rewritten to fit a different set of ‘facts’- and, no, I am not talking about politics!
Sometimes, this will peak the interest of younger readers and get them to look into ‘what really happened’. Sometimes, it will inspire young writers to rewrite a series of events in their own images. Whatever way you look at it, researching history and bending it to your will is fun in every way. Have an adventure and go to the library, pore through old newspapers and photographs. Go the place where something happened or where something might have happened. It feels different to be there, among the tomes and maps and journals, in the buildings or fields, on the streets or sidewalks, than it does to look from the internet at home. Be a detective. So grab your magnifying glass and enjoy!