Last week, I taught a poetry workshop at Denney Juvenile Justice Center. I’ll be posting some of the poems on the teen’s blog over the next few weeks as the release forms roll in.
One of the things we talk about in the poetry workshop are doorway moments. There is an exercise I do with both the kids in detention and kids in school visits where I hand out pictures of doors and we write about doorway moments in our lives or the lives of our characters. The doorway pictures are taken from the book, Doors of the World.
Some of the things we include in our writing include:
How the character feels when approaching the door. Are they nervous? Excited? Scared? Happy?
The physical appearance of the door including aspects of the setting around the door–weather, sounds, sights, textures,
The biggest thing I ask the teens to answer is: Does your character open that door and walk through or do they turn away? Both options can lead to a bigger story.
In my own young adult romance, WEAVING MAGIC, I included a doorway moment here:
“You left this,” Christopher held up my silver watch bracelet, “in the truck.”
Automatically, my hand flew to my bare wrist. My watch bracelet. How could I not have noticed it was gone? Something inside me felt terrible. My chest contracted and everything around me got a little fuzzy before I swallowed hard and reached out to take the bracelet. My fingers brushed over Christopher’s long, slender ones.
“Let me get that.” Christopher gently took my left arm. When his fingers touched my wrist, my insides tingled and the warmth spread through me.
Above us, a wind chime tinkled in a small gust of wind. I caught my breath as the musical notes floated across the porch.
A memory played in the corners of my mind. It was another good day and Mom stood on a small step stool. She hung the chime on the small white eye-hook. The chime caught the wind, and Mom pulled me close to her. “It’s beautiful,” she said. “Just like you.” I snuggled closer to her. I wanted to believe her words. But it was hard at age twelve; with my long, spindly legs, and flat chest, I didn’t feel beautiful. Not like Mom, with her round face, dark sparkling eyes, and her wonderful laugh. When she laughed it always sounded like her own musical chimes.
Christopher placed the bracelet on my arm, and a small breeze whispered through the porch and across my face. Christopher’s eyes met mine, and his fingers lightly caressed my hand. The world seemed to stand still for just a minute. A minute that held the two of us captured in a small bubble which seemed like it might be one of those quantum shifts of time—until a large flock of Canada geese, flying overhead, honked loudly.
“Would you like to come inside?” I leaned against the door for balance. It was funny how just those simple words made me feel so out of balance.
You can read more of WEAVING MAGIC here