The idea stage.
When I started working on the book I used to call “the Ajalia book,” I was probably about nine years old.
I had an imaginary animal who went around with me, and I drew pictures of Ajalia’s adventures.
When I got older, I started to get more serious about writing all of it down. I’ve been working, on and off, on the Ajalia books for, oh, nearly twenty years now.
I used what I knew when I started writing; I put my imaginary animals into the books, and I formed people I knew into characters.
One of my favorite characters is formed from a personality chunk I peeled away from an active addict; the character is charming, but morally weak. His name is Philas. I super like Philas.
I could never have written Philas without knowing my addict friend deeply. The contradictions and subconscious lies of craving form the undercurrent of Philas’s mind, and I challenged myself as a writer by seeing if I could force him to change his poor habits in an organic, believable way.
Philas resisted my prodding, and remains his very strongly stamped self. He did start cleaning up his life, with significant help, in “The King of Talbos,” book 6.
Books 1-3 are available on Amazon today.