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 wood, axes, machetes, leaves/twigs/acorns/wood chips scattered around, trails where branches/logs were dragged to the fire, glint of moon on ocean/lake/river nearby, log sections and upended tree stumps for sitting, folding chairs, beach chairs, drink cans, Styrofoam coffee cups, people sitting/standing/dancing/roasting food, dogs, parked cars, hay wagon, sharpened sticks/straightened coat hangers for roasting marshmallows or hot dogs, a guitar, the night sky, silhouettes and shadows
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 blowing the flames or nearby treetops, ocean murmuring, river chuckling, crickets chirping, insects buzzing, owls hooting, people slapping mosquitoes, laughter, talking, singing, whispering, parents telling kids to stay back, strum of guitar, hissing as marshmallows burn fingers, yelling when sparks pop out of the fire into the crowd, plop of gooey marshmallow hitting the dirt, rustle of chocolate bar wrappers
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 burning your eyes, prickle of too-warm cheeks, gooey marshmallow, melty chocolate on your face, crumbling graham cracker, fingers sticking as you pull a marshmallow off a stick, fingers burning from a too-hot hot dog, wind whipping your hair into your face, cold/hot night air, opposing feel of being hot on one side and cold on the other, bodies huddled together, sting of mosquito, sweat dampening your hair
--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.
Jorn's body was as rigid as a sentinel's, but the flames jumped and played, taunting him. He clutched the seventh and final branch, its rippled bark pressing into his skin. The wood quivered as he fought the desire to bash the fire's carefully-placed logs and beat out every last ember until all that remained was a cold pile of nothing. With trembling arms, he placed the branch on the fire. It was done. The ceremony was complete. Tears slipped down his face as he turned to face the waiting crowd.
--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.
Example 2: (Metaphor)
The flames pulled higher, straining against the embers—a fiery rebellion yearning for freedom.