A Book is a Door Waiting to be Opened

by Sandy Parks
I recently posted a photo of a door to my Facebook page and asked people where they thought it was located and what might be behind it. Some guessed it might belong to a church or a home or it opened to a public place. Their questions set me to thinking about how a book starts with the cover and the reader opens the book to enter into a new, often unexpected world. How many times do we prejudge a book, a person, or a home by what we see on the outside, without any hints or knowledge as to what might lurk beneath the cover? As a reader that is part of the adventure of a good book.
Alley in Marrakesh
Morocco is famous for its bland and dusty alleys with ancient doors that open to true surprises. A typical lane might have a door like the one you see above. Below could well be the treat that is waiting inside.
Riad in Marrakesh

Rabat, Morocco
A door represents the start of a story, whether it be mystery, romance, or any genre. In a mystery, the protagonist investigates a crime. The reader stands at the door with the detective or sleuth ready to discover what happened. How did the art get stolen? Who murdered the person found in the alley? While a door may give hints, they can be misleading and the reader and protagonist will gain little information until the door opens.
Fez
A door like this one above offers questions before it is even entered. Why is there a smaller door inside a bigger one? If the book is an historical, the reader might discover the smaller one is for people and the bigger one is for horses. Or might a good sleuth discover other explanations. And what does a door say about the characters in a romance? What kind of hero or heroine lives behind the fancy gold or brass door? Or perhaps one built of sturdy wood? Or the door deteriorating and covered in graffiti?
Palace doors

A house in Greece
A door can also be more of a portal that simply beckons the reader to walk through.
Portal in the hills around Sparta, Greece
A door can hint at what a reader might expect to find within. Are there symbolic things hanging over, on, or around the door? And lastly, what if the door is something we expect, but offers a surprise. Below is a door to a church…or is it? What if it represents so much more than that. This one is the door to a monastery…a very old and unique one, built in a place that promised solitude (see the photo below it). This is the way authors want to tell a story. Start with what seems a simple premise, but take the reader on a journey that is something greater than the door promises.
Kalambaca, Greece

Monastery, Kalambaka, Greece
So what doors are you preparing to open as a reader or what adventure are you cooking up behind closed doors as a writer? 

Comments

Julie Moffett said…
Oh, I love all your pictures of doors! What a great blog and the way you tied it to writing! Beautiful photography. :)
Toni Anderson said…
I also love door photos! Those are gorgeous!! I agree, they seem like portals to adventure :) <3
I think this might be one of my favorite blog posts of all time! :) I love pictures of doors, and these are so intriguing. I hadn't thought about starting a book being like figuring out what's behind a door, but I love that analogy.
Sandy Parks said…
Ah, shucks, thanks Julie, Anne Marie and Toni for the compliments. I love doors, too, and have way too many photos of them. They do tell a story and the more ancient the door, the more I'm curious about all the people who have passed through them.

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