Where to look for unicorns? That’s a question many people ask. Unicorns are exceedingly and increasingly difficult to find, especially in this day and age when people spread out over so much of former unicorn land. Yes, they are exceedingly and increasingly difficult to find, but not impossible.
First, you must find wilderness – wilderness where you can’t hear or see evidence of people. Then, sit silently, wait and listen. (Kids, always let an adult know where you’re going! It’s a rule.)
You might hear a rustle behind you, but don’t turn or the unicorn will see your movement and bolt away. Or it may just be a squirrel.
Wilderness. Silence on your part. Listening and being watchful. Waiting.
The tricky part of writing fantasy is creating your made up world, yet still keeping it real and logical. Pick a time period and culture from this world which you think your characters would feel quite at home in, then research, research, research.
How do I research unicorns? I study their cousins, the horse. I consult people who raise horses, who own horses, who are very familiar with horses. I learn horse behaviors, what startles them, what little actions they do, and then I have my unicorn do similar. Research is about the details.
How do I research an Other World, a made-up world? I do as suggested above. For my unicorn stories, I’ve picked 12th century northern Europe. I have lakes and mountains and forests in my stories. I have swum in lakes and hiked up mountains and through forests…and more. So the geographic locations are part of my experiences.
How do I research magic? I believe. But I also keep the spells logical, and made the casting of them draining on the magician. That makes sense to me, like taking lightning from clouds for a fire bolt, but those bolts are not unlimited. They only last as long as the clouds.