Friday, December 3, 2010

The Dragon's Kiss - Fire Breathing 101

Photograph by Ktylerconk
Friday Fire Day! Okay, so as I've mentioned before, when I get stuck on a novel I'm writing, I try writing something completely different to let the details of my main WIP percolate in my noggin. I call these departures my Side Books.

The one I'm toying with right now has gypsies and carnivals in it so I got to research a lot about the swindle of the fortune teller, the card trick guy, all the impossible to win booth games and...FIRE BREATHING! Woo Hoo!

Unfortunately, due to my propensity toward being a klutz, my husband has rejected the idea of 'real world' research and asked me not to spit fire at our drapes.  He's still reeling from the whole 9mm 'incident' but, whatever.

So pulled out my trusty book, The Daredevil's Manual just to see if they had, in fact, a chapter on fire breathing. They did.  So the author, Ben Ikenson, has made a list of essential equipment and a "Pre-Incendiary" checklist that I will share with you.
  • The Fuel - recommendations range, but a mixture of flammable liquids, both household and industrial, have been suggested. I will not give them here, because you shouldn't actually try this. In fact, I read that some of the liquids are so toxic that serious performers actually get their livers checked twice a year.  
I went with a sip of grain alcohol from a bottle for my main character...seemed more poetic than a shot glass with gas.
  • The equipment - You need as stated before, a flammable liquid, a lighted torch, and a wet towel placed over your arm (in case you catch on fire).
I love this last case you, you know, burst into flames...have a wipey on hand.  Right. That sounds safe.
  • Put the fuel in your mouth, but don't swallow, and tip your head back at a 45 degree angle.
  • Hold the torch about 3 to 6 inches from your mouth.
This one gave me pause. I have trouble getting that close to Birthday candles, but a lighted torch?! Wouldn't that be hot? What if flammable fumes come out of my nostrils?
  • Purse your lips as tight as possible and blow a fine mist of fuel over the top of the torch. The liquid will catch fire as it comes in contact with the flame.  Let out short bursts for individual fire balls or expel all the liquid at once for the classic, "Dragon's Kiss" flame explosion - get ready to wow the crowd with a spectacle of fire!

  • Rinse.
Uh, okay. So I've memorized the steps. Now I have to weave them into a scene that is tense, fascinating, and doesn't reek of the insanity that the real world version does.  Piece of cake.

And finally, for those of you who are ignoring my warnings that this only for professional crazy people, and are still tempted to try this at home...DON'T!

I have included a video of a dumb New Zealand teen nearly setting himself on fire while attempting to, "Try It At Home."  Don't worry, he didn't flare up...he just scared himself to death.

Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by AlishaV.


Eric W. Trant said...

I love this: He's still reeling from the whole 9mm 'incident' but, whatever.


Here's another trick for you fire-breather:

One of my buddies used to have this jack-o-lantern trick he'd pull. Use a bar match (one of the small paper matches with a low flame).

Light it, and stick it flame-first into your mouth. Clench the cool end in your teeth, with the flame inside your mouth. Inhale gently to keep the flame off the top your mouth.

Smile big.

You're a human jack-o-lantern!

Douse the flame with a quick burst of air.

I tried to find a Google pic of this, but couldn't. His teeth would light up orange and he looked freaking cool.

Of course, this is the same guy who once knocked himself out trying to break a beer bottle against his head, and broke his nose on the beach when he slammed his face into the sand trying to make a face-impression.

- Eric

Erin Kane Spock said...

LOL. The 'incident'.
And I love the pic of the woman in disbelief. Great post

Raquel Byrnes said...

Eric - Ooh! I like the Jack-O-Lantern idea. I think I'll use that for a character...nice. You had me laughing with the beer bottle, face plant friend of yours -- sounds like a fun guy.

Erin - Thanks a bunch...I love that picture too. =)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Think I'd skip the physical research on this one, Raquel!

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

I'm still giggling from this post, though I skipped down and read the last couple as well before commenting. First, you amaze me. Organization in NOT my forte, though I'm happy to report that I do bookmark my research sites under a folder as you suggested. And I have a wirebound that I write others in. And notecards, though I don't like them and usually use the wirebound.

I LOVE research and must be careful not to get hung up there. As I am now. Time to stop researching and start writing says I.

Thanks for the push, that rebel, Olivia

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This has to be one of the most original posts I've ever seen - love it!! It reminded me of Dustfinger fro Inkheart. :-)

Lydia Kang said...

This must have been fun researching! I'm glad you didn't try it out yourself though, LOL!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Alex - Aw, come one. It'll be fun!

Olivia - notecards are a great idea. I heard some people write out scenes and then arrange them on a cork board. I might try that.

Shannon - Oh my goodness, I haven't thought of that book in years! I loved him!

Lydia - It was fun to research and given my loads of time at night from might start to sound like a decent idea. ;)

Arlee Bird said...

This sideshow stuff is something I never could understand. Why people would do stuff like fire eating, sword swallowing, etc is beyond me. I wonder what ever first possessed people to do something like this?

Tossing It Out

Raquel Byrnes said...

Arlee - My guess its the same blokes that looked at lobsters and thought they might be yummy.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think I'll pass on that kind of research! Although if one of my characters wanted to hang-glide, I'd be willing to try.

Anonymous said...

Oooh. What a fiery post! Playing with fire. I remember some times in my youth, but I think they were pretty tame compared to some youthful experiments with fire!!

I love both of the photographs you posted, especially the woman's face!!
Ann Best, A Long Journey Home

Elena Solodow said...

This is a great idea. Love it. Be careful!