Read Part One here.
And Part Two here.
After I finished the first three chapters of my fledgling story in June 2010, I went back and spent another month working on stuff like world-building and backstories. The people who could create magic with music were dubbed "Minstrels," while the alternate world became "Moonland." I put together a ten-page document that included descriptions of Moonland's history and geography, character sketches for Joel and Marshall, and a basic synopsis of the whole story.
Then, one fateful day, I had a horrible realization: the idea of creating magic with music was already done many years earlier by Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series, which I read when I was a kid.
But then I realized that I couldn't quit. After all, the whole reason why I started working on this project in the first place was because my son had asked me to write him a book. I couldn't stop now! So, I cycled through a bunch of other ideas, none of which appealed to me. Then, finally, three months later, I told myself: "You know what? I'm just gonna go with it." I figured that even though my original Minstrels/Moonland concept shared a common concept with other novels - namely, the whole music-is-magic idea - I could still create a story that would be unique enough to set it apart from the rest. After all, the fact that there had been books about wizardy boarding schools since the '70s (and probably earlier) didn't stop J.K. Rowling now, did it?
I forged ahead. Two weeks later, my ten-page document had grown to twenty-two pages, as I fleshed out the synopsis, added ideas about themes, and expanded the world-building details. "Minstrels" became "Wavemakers." Cain went away, and Greenseed took his place. Felicity turned into a normal girl from Earth. The concept of the Aura was born, along with the idea that Joel's unique brain waves would combine with the sound waves of music to create magical effects.
Then, during the winter break of December 2010, I sat down and started writing the actual book.