1 – Reality can be harder than anything you imagine
When I first started researching, I didn’t think this would be at times emotionally challenging.
Sixteen years ago, when I wrote the short story I’m now developing into my novel, the plot already had a Sinti protagonist whose Sinti group had been slain by the people of the fictitious middle-age village of my story. I was shocked to discover that such massacres indeed happened when reading books about the Sinti. I won’t dwell on this and other sad historical facts, but research confirmed my notions about how terribly the Gypsy and their subgroup, the Sinti, were persecuted along history.
Looking into middle-age also showed how hard life was at that time too. This had a sobering effect and brought a broader view of my story world. It showed the painful and hard side of it. I could then have a glimpse of all the pain and the challenges in a deeper and more concrete way. Reality proved much harder and shocking than anything I had previously imagined.
2 – The research will give you a truthful underlining of details for your characters everyday life.
As I went on reading the book from Michael Krausnick (Eine Sinti-Familie erzählt. Da wollten wir Frei sein) about the Sinti, the author talked about how the Sinti played with self-made instruments, how their violin was vital to them.
It also talked about how they were always used to the wind and open air and preferred wooden wagons to stonewalls, which they considered too warm and unnatural, or that winter fat hedgehogs were considered a delicious treat. That a marriage among them wasn’t arranged, but that usually the pair would just run away and after a period, when they should be away from the upset parents, they would be considered married.
These were only a handful of important Sinti life facts I would not know if I hadn’t researched. I’ll try to include that in my story world because those facts belong to the historical world and society of my novel. All these facts give me a perspective sometimes painful and tragic, sometimes beautiful and artistic of their way of life.
And this is what stories are about, other human perspectives.