I was trying to remember a few scene's from some middle grade books that I read.
As I thought on the village and castle scenes I realized that I was confusing several books into one.
And then it hit me: When I read a book that has castles and villages in them, I always picture the same village and castle. The one I've dreamed of since I was 5.
So now, I can't remember which story I am trying to recall. They've all become jumbled.
How do we make a fresh castle? How do we help our readers create a unique setting for our story?
You say forest and everyone will come up with their own image. Arizona forests are very different from Seattle forests. Heck, the forests twenty miles apart in the Northwest are different.
We can't control what images our readers create, but we can create something different. We can create a "feel" for our setting, so even though it happens in the same castle as every other book our reader has read, there is something unique and something of a flavor that makes it memorable for them.