Storyworld: Fantasy vs. Reality
My current novel details the harrowing experiences of Sleeping Beauty's chambermaid. She has been raised to serve, not to survive, but that's exactly what she will have to do. The poor girl wakes up from sleeping a hundred years, to realizes her fiance missed out on the enchanted sleep, and must now be dead. Mistreated by the princess, with no future ahead, she chooses to help the fairy responsible for the sleeping spell to find the blood-tipped spindle, before it can be used to destroy the remaining fairies.
It was important to my plot, for my main character to have a name that meant "pumpkin". No problem. I found a website and began translating pumpkin into every language I found.
Big problem. How could I saddle my female lead with a name like Calabaza (Spanish), Kurbis (German), or Zucca (Italian)? And those were the pronouncable ones. Finally, I found it. In Croatian, pumpkin is "Tikva". Bingo. I could live with that, and so could she.
I found the perfect castle for the enchanted sleep, up on a hill, where you can just imagine brambles growing up all around it (both photos above). Fortunately, the castle is now a museum, with websites that have detailed floorplans and pictures of every room.
I needed a location for my fairies' home. The moment I laid eyes on Plitvice National Park, I knew I'd found it. The ethereal waterfalls that spill from the sixteen terraced lakes seem to shout "fairy kingdom".
The capital of my country needed to be a Camelot-like city on the sea. Again, Croatia did not disappoint. The old town of Starigrad in Dubrovnik took my breath away with it's tiled roofs and marble streets.
So, if you're struggling with your storyworld, try taking a virtual trip. I've already found the perfect country for my next novel.