Blegh. I'm a bit stuck, so I thought I'd share some of the inspiration for my setting. When I got stuck in the story, I decided to switch setting. I always knew that I wanted my characters to go from their home/school to a new place, but I never really though I'd put them in Malta, a small Mediterranean island I visited in college! The setting, however, is perfect.
I've got ancient ruins at Hagar Qim for my kids to explore, a series of towers developed by the Knights of Malta, and the "Silent City" of Mdina, with it's beautiful narrow streets. I'm working on a way to include the il-Gardjola--it's got six sides, two of which are adorned with carvings of eyes, and two with carvings of ears to symbolize how the Knights of Malta were always watching and listening to enemies who might be approaching. I don't have a purpose for this detail yet, but it's just too rich not to include.
But the most important thing is the beautiful doors of Malta. In America, the style, color, and shape of our house says a lot about the inhabitants--but in Malta (at least the cities), there's not much room for different styles, and everything's built out of the same brown limestone. The differences and uniquenesses come through the beautiful doors...and as doors are an integral part of my story, I just couldn't refuse a chance to include them!
So...that's what I've been thinking about as I write the next 50-100 pages of my book to finish it. At the very least, this has helped me jump start my stalled writing and reminded me of how I need to include all these rich details into my book!