#6 Using Keys to Generate Ideas

Sometimes, the best writing starts with just a little inspiration.

Today, that little bit of inspiration is going to be a key. Yes, a key! A key that could unlock the door to somewhere magical, special or even somewhere scary…


1) Explore visual stimulus

Have a look at some online visuals related to doors to get those creative juices flowing. These ideas from Pobble are great!

You may be instantly inspired to start writing from one of the creative prompts, in which case – go for it! Otherwise, keep reading for some additional inspiration…

2) Design your own magic key

Design your own ‘magic key’ that would allow you to enter a fictional place. What special features would it have? Wings? A clock face? A rose? A crown? A skull? An owl’s face? Is it ENORMOUS or tiny? Who or what might it belong to? Sketch it out in your notebook.


3) Writing Out Loud

Take a closer look at your key design and ask yourself Where would this key take lead? What would it open? Allow some time to explore your ideas, then write some inital ideas down in your notebooks. For example:

“This key would take me deep under the sea; it’s the key to a beautiful underwater palace full of Mermaids.”

This is the key to the door in the cloud where Angels keep the time that is allocated to each human lifetime. The key’s keeper lives forever.


Write a few sentences about where the key may take you, just like these examples from Mr Ritson’s class.

Key 2Key Writing

3) Further Visualisation

Information and ideas become much more memorable if they are drawn, allowing the writer to visualise their new setting or character. Start by thinking more deeply about the door (or box or lock) that your special key would open…

  • What would it look like?
  • If you pressed your ear against it, what might you hear? What noise would it make if it opened?
  • Can you catch a glimpse of anything through the keyhole?
  • Does your door give any clues about what might be behind it?
  • Where might your door lead?
  • Who might it lead to?

Any thoughts, ideas, stories or anecdotes that arise from thinking about these objects are definitely the sort of thing that is worth writing down. Jot your ideas down in your notebook! Again, here are some fantastic examples from Mr Ritson’s class.

Below is my own example. You can see that it’s very messy and that’s okay. I was scribbling down ideas and words and phrases as they came to me, this is a very early stage of writing but it is very important and will help me with my writing later.

If you’re struggling for ideas about where the key might take you, try The Secret Door. You can click on the door to reveal different settings and unusual places that might inspire you! You could even go one step further and make a little folded door (like the one pictured) and start to draw your  fantasy world and/or character on the inside…


4) Creative Writing of your Choice!

One idea could be to write a fictional short story. This could simply start from the moment the key is found or put in the lock, to exploring what’s inside and maybe even meeting a new character. We published ours stories for a book and created our own ‘door covers’ for the reader to open and unfold. Something you might like to try yourself?

You may also be inspired by this brilliant 10 minute writing challenge from bestselling author, Abi Elphinstone, who challenges you to create your own world-crossing ‘portal’ moment! Watch the Authorfy video to find out more (your special object could even be a magical key!).

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Of course, these imaginative ideas could be used for any genre of writing – for example creating poetry or a mystery story about finding the key, or a diary entry or letter for instance. This is precisely why I like using keys as prompts – they present endless possibilities for writing!

Happy Writing!

Miss P x

👍 Did you find this blog post useful? Hit the like button below. Has this blog post inspired you to do some writing? would you like to share it with us! I’d love to hear from you – simply add a comment below or post a photo on social media (you can find me on Facebook and Twitter) using the hashtag #literacywithmissp

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