Have you ever been tempted to peek through an old keyhole? I mean, who hasn't, right?
Keyholes are magically in writing. So are doors, gateways, tunnels, and bridges. Why? They signify the entrance to something new, something undiscovered. Think about the wardrobe in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe or the locked gate in The Secret Garden. I read one story where the author used an antique desk as a portal to the past! Magic happens in these corridors, these passage ways.
Often, the real story begins on the other side of that door. What world is on the other side of the bridge? the door? the tunnel? The mystery and suspense is finding out. Our curiosity draws us in, but something must keep us there. Something must either prevent us from returning or pull us forward. That makes an engaging story.
Not every story has a physical passageway and not every story needs one. Sometimes that passageway is internal, a breakthrough in the character's attitude or motivation towards his circumstances. Sometimes the keyhole is a glimpse into the person he or she can be or wants to be some day. As writers, we help them open that door and walk with them through it to explore a brand new world.
WRITING PROMPT: Find a photograph of a keyhole or draw one yourself. It can be any type of keyhole on any type of door (ancient or modern). Stare at it for a moment. Does the door itself give you any clue about what is behind it? Describe its shape, feel, and smell in words. Then draw closer. Take a peek through to keyhole and catch a glimpse of what is on the other side. What do you see? Will you walk through that door?