In paranormal writing, a lot of people talk about the importance of world building, though the phrase “world building” always makes me giggle. The believability of the world is what makes or breaks the story, but unless you're writing about some mystical world and redrawing the map, the world is already built. The difference is really in the rules.
My Dominion series is a contemporary story based in a society where female witches are dominant because they are more powerful than most males. The normal rules of the law are pretty much the same, the layout a mirror of today's world, and the characters meet the normal moral standards. The changes I made were based on old Celtic myths, incorporating old ideas into our very modern world.
As a collector of many dust-gathering “research” materials, I have more than enough fodder for ideas, Faery Folk by Edain McCoy, Exploring the Unknown (Reader's Digest Edition), and Celtic Myth & Magick by Edain McCoy. These three books have endless supplies of good inspiration. One of which bought to like the series I've been writing for the past year.
In Celtic myth there are five elements: water, earth, air, fire and spirit. These elements offer different strengths, Air: Mobility; Fire:Transformation; Water:Purification; Earth: Stability. I see these old beliefs, and weave them into my stories. For example the testing scene in Inheritance:
I nodded, closed my eyes, and left all their scattered chattering behind. It didn’t matter that Rose didn’t shut up, or that Blond Hair looked at me like he was imagining what sex with me would be like. The earth and I knew each other well. I let it flow through me, like I was nothing more than a pebble in a lake to be shaped and guided by it. Each breath brought renewed life. I set my hands to the stump, remembering the last time, when I’d made wildflowers burst forth from the dead tree. This time I didn’t even look.
The power flowed through me in natural peaks and waves. The crowd gasped. The wood felt different beneath my hands, but I let the earth move as it wanted to, until the final wave subsided. Letting go, I opened my eyes and stared at a giant oak tree, leaves growing to a rich, bright green. No wildflowers this time. I smiled at the tree and patted its strong, new trunk, which split the old stump in half.
I've given partial control of the laws of nature to humans, which inspires other questions like, can they stop climate change, and maybe save lives from a hurricane or earthquake? The answer is unknown for the moment, mostly because it hasn't come up in my character's life. The series are about people who just happen to live in a world a little different than the one we live in, and they aren't out trying to save the world. That would be a lot to ask of one small Asian-American male witch.
So my question to all the followers out there, what makes a world real for you?
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