A Historical report Is a narrative work that tells in chronological and detailed form a real and relevant episode of history. It is a representation of history, cut out and more or less attached to the truth depending on the intention of the narrator.
In its development, one, several or all elements of its structure are directly related to a real and true event.
The narrative as such is, according to the Royal Spanish Academy, a narration or detailed story of a fact. But this fact can be real or fictitious. The story is a discursive and heterogeneous figure in which different types of discourse can coexist.
When it comes to a historical account, the truth component is added. Thus, the whole story or part of it will tell details that happened in a reliable space-time.
Historical accounts may be purely historical (such as those created by historians, for example), or they may be partially historical.
For example, there may be a real character in the middle of a fictitious plot, or a fictional character who develops his character within a time and place that really existed and that is that time and place what you want to show.
Some types of historical accounts
The historical novel can have fictional characters, immersed in a real moment and place that tells a story from the look of its author; This look may be more or less attached to the truth, depending on your desire and purpose.
Historically novels recreate an era in all its details (geography, dress, architecture, customs, etc.) to put the characters in that scene. In the historical novels also certain licenses are allowed that"sweeten"or"aderecen"the real history.
The biographies, besides recreating the external part that surrounds the personages, also narrates, in the most objective way possible, what was the life of a particular personage.
The documentary, for its part, has no actors or fictional characters, but it can and usually has testimonies of real protagonists. It is a narrative more of journalistic type that tells the story in first person.
That is, to tell the story, the writer / reporter stands next to the reader / viewer out of the scene, while he is reporting the facts, whether they are from a very remote past or more recent.
A good historical account must be convincing. That is to say, it must take care of all the details so as to create an atmosphere as similar as possible to the real, so that the reader can locate with ease and confidence in the specific space-time where the events take place.
For this it is imperative that the writer / reporter has a great cultural background and extensive knowledge of History , Requirements that are not so necessary, for example, in the fiction writer, where anything written is valid.
Of course, as long as the reader / spectator accepts the premise posed by the writer, which is no other than to assume as possible what is read or seen, simply because the one who created or invented it so wants it to be.
The historical account then combines science as history and literature as an art form.
Structure and characteristics of the historical account
Like all stories, the historical narrative must also have a structure composed of diverse elements and characteristics that make it coherent and formal.
Characters or protagonists
It can be one or several, but the ones necessary to tell the part of the story that you want to communicate. They are people from whom the narrative will turn and give you content.
The writer / narrator should focus on what the message or part of the story he wants to convey.
If you are clear about this goal, you will then have the skill to probe into the characters' lives, selecting what is important (for your specific purpose), and discarding those details that you feel do not add up to the story, although these may also be very Interesting
It also requires great research to know in detail the place where the events took place and to be able to reproduce it in the most faithful way possible.
How was the atmosphere at the time the character existed? What elements of"decoration"? How was the geography of the place?, architecture, climate, materials, etc.?
It is not only a matter of knowing the date of the event to be told, but a thorough investigation of the era in which history is to be developed, to enrich it and make it credible.
How was it talked about? How was it thought? What was allowed or forbidden? What were the customs of the time? How was the dress, the protocol, the situation Political, social, etc.
The wider the knowledge of the time, the more tools the writer will have to build his story.
In addition to locating the reader / viewer in the precise space and time, it is also necessary to explain the antecedents, the framework, the reasons or foundations by which that historical moment was reached, in that place and with that person doing, thinking, living Of the way in which it will be narrated.
What motivations or impulses led them to perform the actions that now deserve to be counted?
Every story has a knot, a moment (or several) in which situations become complicated or the goals to be fulfilled are removed.
From the author's expertise will depend the benefit that can bring to these summits of the story. It is there that all the narrative tools are put at the service of history to leave a mark on the reader / spectator.
Every knot has an ending, an end point. The writer has the power to decide where in the story his story ends, but it always has to be at a time where the central story and its conclusion have been sufficiently explained. A bad closure can throw away all the good that may have been the story.
- Julián Pérez Porto and Ana Gardey (2014). Definition of historical account. Recovered from definicion.de.
- The Thinker (2016). The Historical Report. E-Cultura Group, Bogotá. Recovered from educacion.elpensante.com.