This photo is of my neighbor’s house fire. My home is the one in the front. Thanks to the wonderful Gladstone Fire fighters, my house survived. This fire was nothing compared to one I experienced a few years earlier when I attended a planned fire for firefighter training.
Back then I was writing a scene in one of my novels about a fire burning a mansion. In order to better to describe a fire I had the privilege of attending an actual planned one by the Gladstone Fire Department. The firefighters were in control of burning this house. At that time I experienced many senses as I felt the heat, smelled the smoke, heard the roar of the flames, and saw the intensity of the colors of the flames, well described as fiery red, and the shades of grey in the smoke. I used the experience as best I could in my writing. That novel is still unfinished.
A deliberate controlled fire is quite a different thing from an uncontrolled fire as you can see in this photo where the heat, the sounds, the intense colors all are magnified at least twenty times — or more.
As a writer I want to be in control of my characters and my plot. I have had some characters take off on their own and try to turn the plot for their own use. I almost always rein them in and tame them down. I find myself trying to write for my perceived readers and not allow my characters be who they want to be as they try to turn my PG13 book into …