What do you think? Happiness? Success? Good health? Wealth? Eternal life? Beauty? Romance?
Nah, forget all those metaphorical keys. One of these is your actual key to a door. But which door? Someone’s front door? Back door? Secret room? Clock case? Garden shed? Cellar? Treasure chest? Cupboard under the stairs?
Why do you need to use a key for access? Are there secrets hidden there? Bodies? Valuables? Pale children? Aliens?
Go on, your imagination is taking you off already isn’t it?
So here’s your challenge for today: Starting with a key, write a piece of fantasy fiction. You can be as bizarre as you like, make up a whole world if you want to. Fantasy can include aliens, wizards, magic, fairies, ghosts. Or that weird old woman who lives at the end of the lane and makes a racket when she moves as the keys on the chain around her waist rattle.
Which reminds me of the nun who was headmistress at my senior school – we could always hear her coming because of the noise from the big bunch of keys on her belt. Oh, and the rosary beads.
Turn your fantasy idea into a short story. Introduce some quirky characters, a situation (something needs to happen!) and any responses to it. Have fun with 2,000 words. If you really take to this, you might end up with a whole new world to write about and a series of novels to publish, who knows?
Meanwhile, there’s a row of hooks in my house where keys seem to multiply. Most of the keys there are useful and open doors and cars, but every now and then we’ll find a key no-one claims to know about. How did it get there? When? What does it open? I feel a story coming on…
*This is the 67th new creative writing prompt in a series which began in March 2020 as a Lockdown project for my creative writing group friends. Every Wednesday at 5pm (Dublin time) I present an idea to kick-start new writing: short stories, flash fiction, poetry, memoir and creative non-fiction. Originally, I created 42 daily prompts and exercises, with a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It began here. I now post the prompts weekly.