It is not a full effort to research a project, regardless of time. It is a greater effort to find the structure. But the ultimate effort is in creating the work. In this case I had, not one, but three stories to tell, spanning three thousand years; and, given that they were to be written poetically in the flavor of each of their times, the need to find and develop these flavours.
To increase the problems, I decided to write the cantos for the stories simultaneously—Canto One of the first, Canto One of the second, Canto One of the third, and so on. (Think of a canto as the poetic version of a chapter in a novel.)
Of course, because I was using the epic form, all three began in media res, in the middle of the action. It turned out that this convention allowed a solid structure to be developed.
And now it was time to put pen to paper.