There are endless resources for ideas, information, and inspiration when it comes to world building. Cultures, science, current and historic events, are some of the core places I know many authors go to for their world building ideas. One of my favorite resources for my own world building has to do with human and nonhuman relationships (people to people, animals to animals, people to animals, as well as differences in social interaction between people of different social classes, regions, cultures, age groups, etc…).
One of the aspects of relationships I find myself thinking about most when I was first building the world of the Guardian Circle has to do with unexpected behavioral changes, for instance a person everyone always thought of as being quiet, nice, kind, suddenly and without warning and a drastic behavioral change that turns him or her into a monster. There a lot of psychological explanations that people come up with in our world, environmental excuses, traumas from the person’s past, and so on, but sometimes, no logical reason can be found for these behavioral changes.
In my world, which in many ways is very similar to our own with twists and turns here and there to allow the reader to feel like they're in a familiar place, but at the same time to give space for the magic, for the paranormal to exist in the shadows and the secret places behind the mundane world. In my world, when a good person suddenly turns monstrous, those that are knowledgeable of the shadow places, of the unspoken magics, they know what is to blame. It is called, the Void.
“Tell you what you know about the Void.” I turned my attention fully to Neman. My determination must’ve showed on my face because Neman seemed surprised and took a step back from me.
“The Void?” Neman blinked and glanced toward Aegolius. “Why do you want to know about that? Nasty business. Ancient evil sort of stuff. Not something one talks about in polite company.”
“I wasn’t being polite, and I’m not making small talk. I want to know about the Void, and I mean now.” I deliberately took a step forward, and Neman stepped back again, successfully intimidated. “So you know anything about it, Magi, or are you trying to cover up the fact that you don’t know shit?” Neman frowned, and I suppressed a grin. Best way to stir up the scholarly types and get them yapping was to challenge their knowledge. Just like my brother.
“I know ‘bout the Void. More than most I’d wager,” Neman said. “That doesn’t mean I know half of what needs to be known. Like I said, the Void, it’s ancient. Older than the written word. Some say older that even the Fae themselves. I don’t know. The Clan, you know how the shifters are, so wrapped up in their pockets of war they can’t see the big picture; they don’t even know the Void exists. My people have studied it, but half of our scholars see the Void as just another type of magic, the magic of the shadows, while to others like me the Void is much more. We see it as a force of destruction and chaos, once a part of the balance of the natural order, now threatening to undo all creation.”
“Older than the Fae, could that even the possible?” Aegolius asked, eyes narrowing at Neman. “No. The Fae have always been, a part of the land, the sky, the oceans, the fiery core of the earth, we are part of it all, part of life. Before that? There was nothing.”
“Yes. Nothing. That’s the Void. The nothing before life, before substance. At least that’s the theory.” Neman responded to my brother, but his gaze never wavered from me. I found his unusual level of attention disconcerting, but my obvious discomfort didn’t seem to slow the Magi man down. “Long ago it was simply part of the balance, the negative for the positive, the shadow for the light, but somehow, no one knows why, that changed. The Void began to want, began to desire power, chaos -- who knows what all they’re after. What we do know for certain is the Void is interfering with life, with free will, not just of the humans, but the free will of all of us. They seek out where there is weakness and that becomes the point of infection.”
(excerpt from “Seeking Light in the Shadows” by Moondancer Drake)