The elements I usually work with (since I'm pagan) are water, earth, air, and fire (ether or spirit is sometimes considered the fifth element). But for this novel I decided to go with a slightly different set of elements. These have more of an Asian influence.
The natural elements are:
(image link: here)
The elements are often seen in fen-shui and chinese medicine based upon their cycles and how they affect each other. The source for the cycles listed below is feng-shui.lovetoknow.com/Nature_Five_Elements.
Water creates Wood.
Wood births Fire.
Fire gives Earth.
Earth creates Metal.
Metal draws Water.
Water destroys Fire.
Wood destroys Earth.
Fire destroys Metal.
Earth destroys Water.
Metal destroys Wood.
Water weakens Metal.
Wood weakens Water.
Fire weakens Wood.
Earth weakens Fire.
Metal weakens Earth.
Wood - The most important as one of the main characters is a Wood Fae.
While the fae main character is a Wood, he doesn't always follow what is typical of his type. He is a traveller like any other wood because he has a deepened desire to see the world. If he stays too long in one place he gets antsy. He's not a fan of water. Like, he will put up with it, and he does shower so don't worry there, but he doesn't go swimming. He prefers to go by air ships instead of water ones. His mother is an Earth fae.
Wood fae wings are just that, wood but very thin but hard to break. There are certain ways to fold them too and although a bit uncomfortable, MC can tie his down at work on an air ship so that no one knows and is uncomfortable with his presence.
Aside from him, there is a pair of women who work together and one of them is a wood while the other is metal. They use their skills to combine the two elements, which can come in handy. Their wings are permanent.
As said above, the MC's mother is one but there is also his ex-boyfriend. This is a fun elements because there are many options like flowers, plants, dirt, etc that can be integrated in their appearance and wings in particular. They also get to have seasonal wings depending on the part of Earth that they have in the wings. Flower wings are a good example, though I'm guessing the ex has more masculine type wings but the mother might have flower petal ones.
I don't have any particular water fae. There are some minor characters that the main character talks to when visiting his homeland, and the villain has at least one for his own uses, but no one really important in the novel is from this category. They have water wings, so they aren't permanent or even last very long and they can't fly either. But they love to swim and spend as much time in water as they can. They control the water and can do some neat things.
Aside from the female metal fae who does work with a wood one, there is one more important secondary character who is a metal fae. The wood MC meets him near the end of the book, when he has been captured by the villain and they end up working some together along with plotting. Metal is another type with a permanent wing set. It is made of thin metal and is still too heavy for flying. They don't fold up nicely like the wood ones though, so are harder to hide.
Don't have many of these. They tend to be the louder ones of the bunch but it works with their personalities. They aren't too fond of water usually for obvious reasons. Their wings are temporary, like the water ones, but are very flashy. No flying for fire fae either. They have to work on control some if living or working on anything flammable so that they don't burn things down.
This is part of the elemental research I have done, though I have more details as I need them for the story. Need to work a bit more on it.