Red/yellow/orange/white flames, flames reaching/flickering/snapping, sparks drifting upward, embers glowing, smoke, logs/branches/twigs in various stages of burning, scorched area where grass has been cleared, ring of stones/shells/bricks, nearby pile of…
Crackle and pop of the fire, soft crash of logs breaking and the fire settling, logs rubbing together when someone rearranges them, snap of twigs being broken in half, axes and machetes biting into wood, wood being dragged over grass/sand/forest detritus, wind…
Wood fire smoke, ashes, fresh-cut wood, hot air, coffee, beer, hot dogs, insect repellant, sweat
Smores, Marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, hot dogs, roasted nuts, coffee, soda, water, beer, hot chocolate, cider, sweat, char, sand/dirt
smooth log/rough stone that you’re sitting on, sag of beach/lawn chair, knobby stick in your hands as you roast something in the flames, fire’s warmth, sting of an ember that pops and hits you, dry eyes from the heat, scratchy feel of smoke in your throat, smoke…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
The winter wind grabbed at my hair, trying to ensnare me, but the fire’s warmth defeated it. An ember popped and peppered a group of girls with sparks. They screamed and grabbed the nearest guys. I smiled into my scarf, wishing I knew these people better and knowing I’d get the chance soon enough. It was enough to not be spending my first Friday night in this town alone…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) The fire gnawed at the massive log, consuming it like a disease until only a sickly pile of ash remained…
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.