This picture of the unbroken seal on King Tut’s tomb – 3,245 years old and still intact – is one of my favorite photographs. I show it to my students. I ask them to imagine what it might be like to be moments away from a monumental discovery. Archaeologist Howard Carter had no idea what awaited him beyond that ancient seal. “Feverishly we cleared away the remaining last scraps of rubbish on the floor of the passage before the doorway,” Carter wrote in his journal, “until we had only the clean sealed doorway before us.”
Write a story about discovery. No need for all the fuss and drama of unearthing a pharaoh’s bones; the photo can be a metaphor. Your character is on this side of the doorway. I’m reminded of James Scott Bell’s edict in his essential Plot & Structure, which every aspiring writer should read, that a character must pass through a literal or metaphorical “doorway,” a point of no return, to set a story in motion.
Your character discovers a doorway and passes through it. What does she find?