Sometimes opportunity presents itself and you get to experience something unique, and other times you have make those experiences happen.
A couple years ago a forest fire broke out about a half mile from our house while we were away on a canoe trip over the weekend. It wasn’t a big fire and luckily no houses burned.
At the time I was writing a story set in a place that has recently burned.
So, I hiked out to the burn and stomped around, watching the way the ash puffed up from my shoes.
Then I inhaled deeply through my nose trying to experience the smell, and ended up in a sneezing fit.
I put my hand in the ash. It was still a little warm, and was neither as dirty nor as fine as the ash from my wood stove.
In doing research for another story, I tried to set a space blanket on fire but all it did was crinkle and melt.
Don't try this at home. Oh, wait. That's where I tried it.
Anyway, I had to change that little detail in my story. I was hoping the space blanket would burst into flames. I mean, the label said, "flammable." And to me flammable means fire.
Have you done hands-on research for your stories? Did you find out anything unusual? Did you have to change your story based on your findings?