By on August 11, 2016

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

“How do you get a job like that?”

Since June 13th, 2012, I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count. That was the day that my first post appeared on TTAC. Between then and now, I’ve been fortunate enough to be published on several sites around the internet and in print. As a result, I can’t sit next to somebody on a plane or work a corner at an autocross with a group of Tilley-wearers without being asked some variation of that same question.

I typically respond in the same way. “Start writing.” You can’t be a writer without writing — seems simple enough, but that’s where most people get stuck. Never fear. Your Uncle Bark is here to help you get started. If you want to get free flights to Tenerife, I can’t help you. But if you want to share your love of cars with the world, keep reading.

 

Don’t write what you know. Write about your passion. 

I got my start at TTAC writing about my Boss 302 that I purchased in 2012. At that time, I had just started working in the automotive advertising business, and I didn’t have much first hand experience in the world of journalism. Other than autocrossing (which I had been doing for six years) and my yellow Mustang, I didn’t have a wealth of subject matter to draw from.

I didn’t try to have some grand insights into Elon Musk’s business dealings (because writing about such things from outside the industry would just be stupid), nor did I wax poetically about the differences between turbochargers and superchargers. I don’t care about the inner mechanical workings of automobiles, and no amount of learned technical knowledge can replace passion.

When I started to see how this business worked from the inside, that’s when I found my passion. I realized that most people don’t know anything about what truly goes on in the worlds of automotive journalism or retail automotive sales, and I realized that most people are completely lost when it comes to buying cars — even those who can tell you everything about them. Helping people see behind the curtain and revealing the secrets of this business has become my raison d’etre. 

Just writing about the three years you were a Ford tech isn’t interesting, especially if you hated every minute of it. But it could be if you tell the reader why you hated it. Maybe you saw customers who were hoodwinked. Perhaps you were witness to false accounting practices. That’s got the potential to be interesting.

You’re probably not any good at this whole writing thing yet — and that’s okay. 

My first few articles weren’t that well received. In fact, I had single-digit comments on some of them. I think I was called arrogant and uninformed (some things never change). I learned what aspects of my writing were good, and what needed improvement. I submitted some ideas to my brother and to some other people I respected. I even wrote for free for a little while, because I didn’t think it was fair to ask people to pay for my trial-and-error methodology.

Before you submit something, find a friend who knows his way around the language. Ask him or her to read it for you, and ask for advice. Furthermore, when you get it — take it. It’s easy to get protective of your work and to take criticism of it personally. If you can’t handle a buddy saying you need to improve, then you’re definitely not going to appreciate it the first time an editor chews up your submission and spits it back to you with great prejudice.

Find somebody whose writing you admire, and use it as a guide — but do it with caution. 

I have no problem admitting that I think Sam Smith is a wonderful writer. He might be a couple of years my junior, but I make it a point to read nearly everything that he writes. (Which isn’t that much. Come on, Sam. Write more stuff.) He’s an intoxicating storyteller, not to mention a hell of a wheelman. I often find myself referencing his work when I am stuck on an idea. Please don’t tell Sam that I said any of this, because I don’t want him to tease me when we race together in October. But there’s a fine line here.

I cannot count the number of people who tell me that my older brother’s writing inspires them. I can’t go to a single automotive-related event without somebody hunting me down to tell me that he or she admires Jack’s work. I even had one guy show me a legal pad in which he had written down quotes that were particularly meaningful to him.

Even though I tire of dealing with my brother’s fanboys, it pleases me to know that he’s so well-regarded. However, I’ve yet to come across the writer who can replicate what he does. I can’t write like Jack, because I haven’t lived like he has. I don’t communicate with the reader as openly and easily as he does — there are parts of my life that I’m just not willing to share with the world.

But even Jack isn’t an original creation, born fully-formed as a writer. He often mentions the inspiration of Setright. We both grew up devouring the works of writers from various genres — Asimov, Douglas Adams, Joseph Heller, and George Orwell among them. Feel free to take inspiration from your heroes. Just don’t try to be them.

Grammar, usage, and vocabulary all matter. 

Don’t even bother submitting a piece unless you’ve checked and double-checked your spelling and punctuation. Microsoft Word isn’t going to catch all of your errors, I promise you, especially not your usage errors. Try to avoid using simple, informal language — but don’t wear out your link to Thesaurus.com, either. Shoving a word that you don’t normally use into a sentence can seem awkward to your readers. There should be a balance between using the word “good” sixteen times in a single submission (see Esterdahl, Tim) and inserting the word “plethora” out of nowhere (see Esterdahl, Tim).

Don’t ever use the words “really” or “very”. I’m sure that you can CTRL+F my posts and find some examples where I’ve done it, but I shouldn’t have. Robin Williams’ character had some thoughts on this in the film “Dead Poets Society.” His fictional character was correct. Using such modifiers makes your writing appear childish and unsophisticated.

Write, write, and rewrite. 

Few people can thump out a thousand words, click “submit,” and have the end result be anything decent. Your first draft is going to need help. Maybe you’ll need to draft an outline first. There’s nothing wrong with that. I can’t tell you what process will work best for you, but you’ll need to have a process of some sort. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written something that I thought was particularly good, only to click “trash” on my second reading of it.

Having a good idea isn’t enough. You need to be able to communicate that idea in terms so clear that a stranger would be able to understand exactly what it is you’re saying with no prior knowledge of the subject. I often ask my wife, who knows nothing about the automotive landscape, to read my work. If it makes sense to her, then I know I’ve done at least a decent job.

Practice your writing daily. More of your ideas will end up in the trash than in print, but you’ve got to work through some of the duds to find the gems.

But what about automotive writing in particular, Bark? Everything you’ve said has been applicable to all forms of writing.

That’s a fair point, Mr. Empty Chair. But it’s at this point that I’d point out that the barrier-to-entry for automotive writing is lower than the High Jump bar at your local middle school track meet. The vast majority of automotive writing — to call most of it journalism is inaccurate — is poor, and that’s being kind.

In fact, close to 100 percent of the writing you’ll find online are car reviews, which take approximately no talent to write — at least not the way most people do it. (By the way, if you thought my Jeep Patriot review last week was a real review, then you’re banned from ever sending a letter to Ask Bark. Come on, people.) Unless you’re blessed with an editor who lets you write long-form reviews of cars (thanks, Patrick), all you can do is rattle off specs, publish, and be damned.

I don’t think that there’s any particular secret that’s unique to writing about cars as opposed to writing about anything else. If you can tell a story about a soccer game, or a plane ride, you can tell a story about a car. And that’s what the writing I’ve enjoyed the most has been — a brilliant telling of a personal experience. I don’t care too much about the 0-62 mile per hour times of the Subaru Forester, and I suspect that once most of us leave high school, we’ve all outgrown that sort of thing (which the exception of the one guy who always comments “BUT WUT ABOUT LAPTIMEZ”).

So how do I tell a story? 

The first and most critical element in telling a great story is determining what your ultimate message is going to be. As Stephen Covey said, you should begin with the end in mind. Think about the one thing that your reader should know or understand when he’s done reading your piece. Once you figure out what that one thing is, then you have to figure out how you’re going to communicate it.

You can’t do that without knowing your audience. It’s no secret that the Jalopnik audience isn’t the same as the TTAC audience, for example — while there’s some overlap, there isn’t much. I don’t write the same way there that I do here. My TTAC writing style isn’t better or worse than my Jalopnik style, it’s just different. Just like you wouldn’t tell your mom a story in the same way that you’d tell it to your best friends, you need to customize your message so that it can be received and appreciated by your anticipated audience.

If you’re telling a personal story, be vulnerable. Struggles are always more compelling than victories. Talk about the darkest feeling you had during that time. Tell us what made you afraid. Tell us how you failed.  Then tell us what you learned and how your life has changed as a result.

I’m sure that I read this somewhere, but I’ve tried to live by the “Hero/Zero philosophy.” If you’re telling a story about a mistake or a weakness, talk about your own flaws. If you want to tell a story about somebody who accomplished something great, tell it about somebody else’s greatness.

Finally, don’t be afraid to tell us what it is you wanted us to learn from your story. Don’t use a sledgehammer, but don’t be vague either.

As Jack has famously said, everybody on Oppo has five good stories. What do you do when those five good stories are gone? Well, you have to go find new ones. You have to experience new things. You have to live. You have to be able to find a story where none exists, to create content without having a press car delivered to your front door.

Like I said to start this off, I’ve now done it over 200 times, but I can’t say that I’ve done it successfully in each instance. There are posts and articles of which I’m quite proud, and others I wish I could go back and delete. But each and every time I write something, I have my name on it (or my pseudonym, which, oddly enough, is much more recognized than my actual name). And when you send your submission to TTAC, or anywhere else, your name will be on it, as well.

So before you send that e-mail, be sure that you’re proud of your work. Be sure it’s the very best you can do. I imagine you’ll find that it’s much easier to comment on the work of others than it is to create your own. As such, I leave you with this quote from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech at the Sorbonne in 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Now go write something.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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59 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: I Am A Writer, And So Can You!...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    This seems like hard work Bark.

    I’m just going to make YouTube videos with titles like “Challenger DESTROYS Infiniti Q50” and “18 things I HATE about the Cadillac CTS-v” and “I drove a Stanley Streamer and it was WEIRD!” and “Why only idiots buy Ford trucks”. All with a black-and-white 4Chan face somewhere in the video image thumbnail.

    I’ll also pay strippers to to wear bikinis and ride around with me for some videos. “Hott Girls HEMI reactions OMG”

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’d love to write up some kind of trip report on the automotive landscape of my visits back to the ‘motherland,’ but I can’t help but wonder that it’d be a bit too esoteric and out of the field of interest of many readers here, particularly my focus on the mechanical side of things and obsession with durability and DIY-ing things, and very little (zero) emphasis on more traditional ‘car enthusiast’ angles like sharp handling and sports cars and track times, etc. I get photos from my cousins pretty regularly with status reports on the wrenching they’ve been doing on their very used rides. These are guys that will dive right into an engine rebuild on a ’04 Camry with a zillion miles (they actually figured out a way to resleeve those modern ‘unrebuildable’ motors), or will rebuild an automatic transmission out of several used ones in their garage using pretty basic hand tools and know-how.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d read that.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy Harris

        I would too. The challenges and solutions of automotive repair are more engaging for me than a list of some automaker’s quarterly earnings, for example.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Good to know! As of late my favorite pass-time instead of regular TV and movie viewing has become watching these Russian car-guy youtube channels where they nurse along and restore’fallen from grace’ German luxury cars on shoestring budgets and with only their own two hands and basic tools to get by on. My favorite is a guy in the small mining town of Kirovsk (in the northern part of European Russia near Arkhangelsk) who got his hands on a beaten to death mid 90s Merc W140 V12 S600 for 100k rubles ($1500ish) and rented a garage space with a pit in a dilapidated commie-block garage complex. Everything possible has gone wrong, including the rotten front spring perches failing, necessitating rewelding them. The abused transmission has been completely gone through and on and off the car numerous times. To watch this poor soul wrench on this junkyard candidate of a car from the comfort of my comfy couch is just the best thing ever. Better than any ‘car guy’ restoration show on TV by a long shot IMO.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCqrJ_qRzuY

        Nothing my cousins are working on is quite that hard core, but the one guy did just buy a Merc W202 in pretty used up condition and uses it as his daily driver on the absolutely abysmal roads over there, his friend is the one with the high mile rebuilt-transmission Camry that has been pressed into taxi duty.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      There are also some of us with an interest in cars and locations outside of North America; though admittedly not all of us.

      In fact, my other interest is in railroads, including model railroading; and I have already read several books and watched several videos on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. They have inspired me to plan a layout based on the Trans-Sib and experiment with building some static models for it; it is just a shame that Russian model railroad equipment is rare, and can be expensive.

      https://www.facebook.com/james.hefner.73/media_set?set=a.10208301078719113.1073741841.1668226073&type=3

      So add me to your list of potential readers. Although I will be modeling more post-WWII than modern, the scenes of rural Russia would be of interest to me as well. And of course the mechanical aspects.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        jhefner you’d be interested to hear that I have a cousin that works on the TransSib (and other ancillary railroads in Siberia). He’s actually deploying for a month in the Siberian Far East (Amurskoye) right now. He’s a train engineer, they do a lot of maintenance and moving around of the impressive snow-clearing units in preparation for winter.

      • 0 avatar
        pyro

        Go narrow gauge. Shapeways 3D printing online shop has pages of body shells for reasonable cash. Lots is European and may just work for what you have in mind. I too love trains and model trains in particular. But I love models of just about anything ,armour,planes, ships ,cars,you name it I have a model of it somewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      I think your stories are fascinating and I’ve watched several of those videos following the last time you mentioned them.

      Please share your stories.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’d totally read anything you write. You’re one of the most interesting commenters here.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Thanks dal et al!

        I will definitely reach out to TTAC staff about doing an article about the ‘carscape’ over in my neck of the woods in Russia and how folks in rural areas get by.

        I’d also be more than willing to do a little exposé on my new beater $1600 Maxima that I’ve been continually wrenching on while continuing to use it in every day driving. Parts count so far: brakes all around for $150, quick strut assemblies for $340, about $50ish in bodywork supplies and paint, $100 worth of bug deflectors (strategically hides rust on hood), rain guards (functional, look good on a black car IMO), and cheapo 4 piece rubber floor mats from Meijer to again strategically hide carpet staining and a big hole from a woman’s shoe heel. Upcoming are some further suspension expenses I think (front lower control arms at $65 a side), some patch welding on the radiator support (getting a quote soon), and some exhaust work. Finally there is a CEL related to the ignition coils (runs fine, no misfires), and some related to the exhaust leak. Aside from the welding and exhaust repair, everything is done with my own two hands in my driveway, and sometimes borrowed tools in a friend’s garage(air tools for suspension work). I’ve prioritized the repairs in terms of critical safety components and/or things necessary to keep the old warhorse on the road for the daily grind of commuting. Of course I’ve already broken my own rule by tackling the body work, but I just couldn’t resist getting the car looking respectable.

        Much like Jack does occasional Accord updates, I could maybe do beater Maxima updates, there’s certainly a lot more juicy details and drama with a rusty 16 year old car than a impeccably running new Accord (not dissing on Jack or the Accord AT ALL).

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I’ll throw in another vote for some Russian car guy stories. I’ve watched some of those videos you’ve linked to in the past and they were fascinating even for a guy who doesn’t understand the language.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Я хочу читать эту книгу.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Okay, now you GOTTA write somethin, and it better be good! Kidding, of course, but yes, I would also read your work and I encourage you to try.

      I am not comparing myself to the guys you talk about, but I’ve limped so many cars along for SO long after they should’ve been transformed into refrigerators, it isn’t funny (yes it is, sometimes). Buying an 235K-mile 1989 Aerostar for $150, getting my friends to help me half-ass mend the transmission, and driving it to work (50+ mile round trip) with only 1st and 3rd gears working (I used this van to tow cars on more than one occasion). Buying a Mercury Sable at an abandoned vehicle auction for $35 and getting it running, and driving it home (did the same with a $30 Subaru Standard, a $50 Tempo, etc). I bought a Taurus I-4/3speed auto for $50, got it going, fixed it up a bit and sold it for $800 after driving it for a year.

      My mechanical skills are my own, I learned from experience. I didn’t have a dad who showed me how to turn wrenches (he was an aircraft mechanic and has little interest in cars…particularly my cars). I didn’t go to school for it, nor did I work under a professional. I learned what I know by being too broke to hire someone to fix my car, lol. And, I usually had old, nearly worn out cars that always needed something.

      Not all my cars were worn-out beaters, but honestly, I generally prefer them. I often left my Acura Integra GS-R at home and drove my $100 1983 Mercury Zephyr or my 1987 Tempo to work. Its nice to drive something new/newer, but its a hell of a good feeling to drive something that others had given up on, but you brought back to life and made decent.

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    Lazy work, Bark. This is basically the advice you gave me sixteen months ago via Facebook message, with about 2100 superfluous words added.

    Oh, yeah. Thanks again for encouraging me to get off my ass and write.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Ya, see…no way can I do even a small portion of this working hard.

    As you all can easily see I struggle with just a few lines. I gonna wait until spell check and grammer(?) fix are faster and better. When “Thought Cleaner Fx” and “Expression Clearer Fix” become a reality.

    .

  • avatar
    nsk

    This is a great piece.

    A lot of friends and family have told me that I should write about cars because I am a decent writer (thanks to a classics major and law degree) and I really like cars (thanks to a car guy dad who bought really cool metal). But after reading a lot of good writing (Ezra Dyer, Setwright, nearly everyone at Evo) and trying my hand, I’ve ended up with stuff that even I don’t want to read.

    I think that many successful auto writers have a shtick. Like Ezra writes genuinely funny material from the perspective of a average guy bordering on hick. I remember he wrote a totally fictitious account of a trip to Italy to visit the Ferrari factory, and he emphasizes his high school IROC Camaro. Doug DeMuro writes like “can you believe this awesome thing is happening to an idiot like me?” He comes across as a likeable guy as well. Jack Baruth seems to emphasize his heterosexuality as often as possible, but gets away with it because the writing is polished.

    And Bark, I really like your advice column and commentary on the industry. I think it’s nuanced and thoughtful, but also entertaining and thoughtful.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Given that this industry now has a lot of homosexual writers who use that as the primary lens for their reviews (eg Brett Berk with “Stick Shift”) I think a little balance is both fair and warranted.

      The reason most car writers don’t write about outrageous sexual episodes with women is the same reason that I don’t write about tofu: I have no idea what it tastes like.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Do sites like TTAC and Jalopnik pay contributors?

    Twain: no one but a fool ever wrote except for money.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    I enjoy both Baruths and always read their posts. It seems to me the closest comparison is that between Gene Kelly (Bark) and Fred Astaire (Jack) which is the difference between talent and genius. And that is in no way an insult to Bark.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I’m a horrible writer, especially in English since it’s nto at all my first laguage, and my more and more apparent ADD makes it kinda hard to make anything consistent enough to be readable, or even fully interesting. But, I have to admit, if any of my trivia or references were as middleclass and ‘intellectual’ as your brother Jacks are, I could possibly learn to write in a similar manner to his ramblings. Mostly because I tend to stray as far away from the subject at hand as he does, but also because I love filling whatever I write or draw (mostly draw tbh, I’m probably more artistic with pictures than words) with obscure, or obvious references that show that I have done my research should it even be read or watched by someone with knowledge about the subject matter which I carefully researched before making the piece (and then partly forgetting all about minutes later, being that it was only relevant in that setting, meaning i can never source any of the information I learned to see as a truth while trying to learn about it )
    Having been obsessed by cars since about when I learned to walk at 9-10 months (the summer/fall of 79), and having drawn them in both in shape and detail for 30-something years, have taught me enough to know when Sajeev is telling a truth in Vellum Venom, and when Bark is exaggerating in his FCA ‘reviews’ . I also know the difference between defiantly and definately well enough to get a good laugh from it (and I also know where the reference comes from)
    Having owned roughly 30-something used cars in different states of disrepair has also taught me to a large extent the different philosophies of engineering and designing cars, and even more about where and how you can/can’t and should/shouldn’t cut costs. Adding to this experience from working on cars, I know another international producer of parts for huge ships well enough in detail to know that car production isn’t that different from other industries that try to make as much money as possible by cutting as many corners as possible)
    Does this mean I could write about cars for a living?
    we will never know, because, as Bark (and I believe even Stephen King ) said; you have to start by actually writing.
    Also, I love to watch Roadkill (from Motor Trend, yeah, I know) on Youtube, and I sometimes liked reading what BTSR wrote…
    PS, I ned a proof-reader, and apparently I love the word ’30-something…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice piece.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    My dear son, who can figure any angle or log in his head, becomes paralyzed when asked to write his feelings or views. It is hard and most who believe they can write need to be gently relieved of this idea. See Thompson, Hunter S., for an example of a genius when inspired and a hack when deadline and whiskey pass together. Even Mark Twain had periods of blockage. Ergo, I salute all who are capable of turning a phrase that pleases the masses, while also scorning said groups. It takes real talent to insult someone and have them like it. See Hitchens, Christopher. Good luck to all with the fortitude to submit.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Where/when did the Lotus story we were promised go?

  • avatar

    “We both grew up devouring the works of writers from various genres — Asimov, Douglas Adams, Joseph Heller, and George Orwell among them.”

    That’s a pretty solid list, especially Orwell.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Nice piece and the “start writing” advice is a universal truth. I do believe that some people are gifted with talent that moves them beyond that of the collective.In some cases that gift is obvious but often it is dormant or suppressed. Do or do not, there is no try…. unless you play rugby.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Nice piece. “Start writing” is a universal truth. We tend to believe that it takes a gift or blessing to be able to do something extraordinary. We use that to rationalize playing it safe. Any journey starts with a small step and a destination in mind. Some have their talents hidden or suppressed laying dormant. It is worth taking that step. If one doesn’t then that becomes the regrets of the twilight years. Do or do not. There is no try, unless you play rugby ;)

    Edit – I reposted because the site crashed when I hit enter. Goes to show that a re-write is often better. (or maybe not)

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Respectfully I highly disagree .
      .
      Look at my written babbles , I often look back and realize I didn’t make my point properly if at all =8-^ .
      .
      FWIW , I write DIY tech articles for other sites that are in high demand because they’re written by someone who’s able to explain clearly what you’re going to find when you approach the job at hand vs. the shop manuals typical ‘ grasp special tool # 297-B in the proscribed manner and……’

      .
      I firmly believe one either has a specific talent or not ~ I can’t write as much as I’d love to share my stories .
      .
      I do have an affinity and ability with machines that’s been very helpful over the decades .
      .
      I often watch supposedly well trained and certified Mechanics fail to understand the most basic of how things work so I know either you’re gifted or not .
      .
      -Nate

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I’ve always had an itch to start writing, starting with from how I went from keyboard warrior to wheel-to-wheel racing.

  • avatar
    richardsheil

    Surely title should be

    I Am A Writer And So Can You Be!

  • avatar
    jhughes

    It’s true. All of it. That’s how I got started dabbling in all this stuff a year and a half ago.

    Where would you suggest people go to practice and/or try submitting their work? I started on Oppo and am still active there, but Jalopnik doesn’t seem to repost anything from Oppo anymore, and who knows what’ll happen over there after next week. I’m asking for would-be writers in general, not specifically for myself.

  • avatar

    A while back I stumbled upon the realization that people read stories about people, not about machines, so I focus on the people and keep an open ear for a good story.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    I’ve always regarded you as a typist.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Not that I have any particular talents of any kind, and I know this would be in a sticky if we had such things, but what is the best format for submitting stories? I know that every site would have its own guidelines, but do you include images in a first submission? Is layout completely up to editing?

    What do you get when you multiply six by nine? (bait…)

  • avatar
    danio3834

    This past June, I ran the The Tail of the Dragon several times at a rapid pace in a 2016 Charger R/T with a group of other quick cars that included a Golf R. That story wouldn’t interest the readers here though.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Well, I’d be interested since I ran the same road last fall in my Miata. Alas, there was too much traffic at the time to do much of it quickly, so my story is kind of boring.

      But I love that area and I’ll definitely be back.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I’d be interested as well as the owner of a ’15 charger R/T R&T. I looked at the Golf R quite hard, but realized the nearest twisty road is 150 miles away and really wanted a muscle car before they’re gone.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “That story wouldn’t interest the readers here though.”

      Uh oh, what did we do? Too much CUV defense?

      I have a pokey Jetta and a pokey Altima and probably wouldn’t consider a RWD V8 sedan for my next purchase, but I would certainly like to read about that experience, particularly if you are authoring it. Your comments suggest you write well.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’m just being a tease. I haven’t written about it because I haven’t had the time.

        Here’s a hood mounted Go-Pro vid of complete run where the Charger chased. Traffic was light and we were able to keep a good pace:

        I’ll say this. The Charger handled it very confidently and better than anyone present thought a 2 ton sedan would do it. The Charger was a base R/T, not an R/T R&T like I had at home at the time. It was really interesting to feel the differences. The R&T package would have been better with it’s firmer suspension, quicker steering and better tires, but this base R/T can take the vast majority of drivers beyond their limits of comfort on a road like this.

        The run after the above video, I went out in front and completely ran away from the group to see what it could really do. The RX7’s couldn’t keep up and the Golf couldn’t get by to challenge. The other drivers thought I had gone insane because these cars don’t exactly have a reputation as corner carvers. With the 8 speed and responsive shift paddles to get into the right gear for every corner, it took what the dragon could dish out without ever feeling overwhelmed, being careful not to cut blind corners and kill any bikers.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    Bark, did you have college writing classes (more than the basic English everyone has) and were you with the school newspaper? If so, did those classes and experience help with your writing? Were you in drama or a literature class? I would think you might have been due to being a music major.

    It also sounds like you and Jack had quality K-12 education if you are reading all those authors you mention, or that your parents must have done a lot of reading, unlike some who do a lot of TV watching.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Seems that you have a favorite writer that you didn’t mention above…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_America_(And_So_Can_You!)

    Just Sayin’

  • avatar
    -Nate

    @ Mark : yes , your writing has gotten much better , it wasn’t bad to begin with , you’re advice to listen and adapt is bang spot on .
    .
    @ gtemnykh : I love the technical aspects of the articles and the comments too ~ I suspect there are many here who’d read every thing more technically based , doesn’t mean stop the articles about new cars , racing and so on , just add more , something for everyone .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    Sid SB

    Great article. I have tried to write article length pieces on forums, looking back though, most of them make me wince. Main cringe worthy elements were some of the naive comments, soapbox preaching and a meandering structure (jump all round the topic). That said, writing a good piece takes time , thought, and lots of checking but must be a great rush when published and you get good feedback. While I envy the car journalists job, I am not kidding myself into thinking it is easy work, far from it, looks time consuming and bound to have ups (please review the new 570S) and downs (please review the mid cycle refresh of the Versa or worse write a piece about NHTSA latest crash test protocol).

    Smith and Baruth (the elder) and others at R&T help make the current magazine a great read. To be fair they do get some great material to work with (Smith drives some awesome old racing cars) and the photography (especially in R&T) is amazing at times.


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