Almost every day, somewhere in the world, there are people who visit the threshold between life and death unexpectedly - and survive.
Whether it is a plane crash or an avalanche, if you believe the anecdotal evidence, the experience seems to create a need to live for today. All the unnecessary flotsam and jetsam that is a part of our lives, and at times seems almost the most important part, is suddenly irrelevant. We realise that in these moments of extreme danger they contribute nothing to our ability to survive.
As a writer you could look at this in various ways.
At the most basic level these events in themselves can create a gripping opening or a thrilling climax.
When editing we need to be brutal and give no quarter when redrafting our words; to cut away all the excess and trivia, polishing each piece like a skilled craftsman who cuts away at a diamond to reveal the perfect stone and then polishes it to glistening perfection.
In the plot we need some of the flotsam and jetsam of life to create problems for our characters and to add texture to the lives they lead. It can help to reveal the characters' values and their relationships.
Also, something that might seem trivial in a critical situation can have value in different circumstances. The pursuit of wealth may seem trivial if your life is at risk, but without the means to put food on the table we cannot continue to live a normal life.
Despite the reality check that a disaster creates we all need the minutiae of our daily lives to continue in some fashion.
All these aspects of disaster can feed the writer within us.
Don't forget - it's still not too late to enter the great book giveaway competition and sign the guestbook.