Tip: use reliable sources when researching. I discovered, to my cost, that some websites are unreliable. My main source for magic research was published by the Oxford University Press but I also purchased a Grimoire. While living in Nerja, an old friend of my late daughter (who moved from the Basque country to Andalucia) talked about the homeland and his beliefs. This was invaluable.
A great deal of time was devoted to gathering information from various reliable books and websites. I now firmly believe that it would have been far better had I put a time limit on the initial stage of research.
The next stage is important. In general, I write a brief outline (three A4 pages, maximum). Then comes the task of creating characters (looks, temperament, strengths/weaknesses, beliefs, family and given names). In truth, by the time I’ve finished, I know them better than I know myself.
Where will this new species live, I thought?
I chose what is now the Basque region for the Pha’rár motherland. Then I created two islands, Isle Glaciei in the northern hemisphere; Isle Pha’rár to the south. Rùm was chosen due to its location off the western coast of Scotland. Isles Sombra (the shadow lands) belongs to Zúri. There are seven islands set within a ring of volcanoes, and his own island which is remote and inaccessible. I chose the Bermuda Triangle for the location of Isles Sombra due to the legends.
Researching traditional sailing vessels was a must as the Pha’rár are a sea going race.
For the Eldern Journals, I penned one synopsis for the trilogy, and one each for the three books. This suits me, but it may not suit everyone.
Somewhere along the line, I considered the chapters and pen rough notes. Then I begin writing in earnest. First step, the prologue or first chapter then the ending.
After finishing the first draft of The Eldern Journals; the main character changed from a kind gentle man to a despot! At this point, I also introduced eight new characters: Morag, Dai, Inyaña, Sa’ida, E’rón, Juan Zuria, Brae, Pilar and Cæsar. They are seven Elderns. Finally, Morag created an eighth Eldern, named Lorea. Sophia, Cæsar and Oscar’s mother, is a powerful woman created by Morag as a companion.
With so many characters, I needed a family tree!
The trilogy covers thousands of years from the day of Dai and Inyaña’s deaths, to the rise of the eight Elderns. Of necessity, my writing style changed enabling me to cover the prophecy, creation of a new species and their rise in three books.
Research continued throughout the writing process, i.e., Basque legends; belief systems including paganism; precious gems and metals; islands and oceans; language; piracy; runes; Menhirs (standing stones); volcanoes; telepathy; legends of witches and warlocks. In desperation, after finding no useful info, I created my own form of magic.