Avoidance of plagiarism - Literary snobbery aside - the conscious Vs the subconscious when penning historical novels.
I dare any author of historical novels to deny they have read books and historical accounts of their chosen period before they began painting pictures with words and thus conveying a story intended to delight readers. No matter what we read, whether it's a fiction novel, a biography or indeed historical records etc., we glean and thus we gain knowledge. As authors our imaginations can run rife and our subconscious will log details whilst the conscious mind is distracted by all manner of things.
However, when we finally settle to the task of writing our novel the "subconscious" jogs the "conscious" and then, as we consider the opening sequence, is it merely our imagination taking hold or is it a memory of something we read, some aspect having struck us as unusual, brilliant or beautiful?
Casting omnipotent godlike perspective aside, take Novels with simple dialogue as the opening to a book.
a) Sometimes the reader is most definitely eavesdropping (as though standing near) as characters reveal elements about themselves and their surroundings: the latter drip fed to the reader through the eyes of the characters, and the sequence is all action from start to finish.
b) Now consider the "narrative" approach to the same scene with the same dialogue whilst the author/narrator describes the surroundings, character features and dress, and the conversation is just that a conversation and every nuance of character action is fed from the narrator's viewpoint.
Who would you say tends toward the former (show) and who the latter (tell) of the great novelists who depict whatever era?