If you don’t get help here at MyCarsStory.com, please… get help SOMEWHERE.
Time is money and when it’s mine it’s not funny. I have to charge for my expertise and services, and frankly you get what you pay for. I’m damn good, and that’s not being pompous. It’s science; you can look it up.
But I know hot rodders can be a “I can do that, too” kind of bunch.
If you don’t hire me, the important thing is that you do get your car’s story recorded and stored somewhere safe. That’s what’s really important to me, and why I built this site.
If anything, in 20 years when I’m writing about your old car, hopefully the new owner has the correct info to give you credit. It helps me to help you.
So… I’m going to give you a few pointers to do a good job. Free. Just remember it’s my job. I can Google how to plumb something, but I know I won’t be as effective as an experienced guy with a truck and the proper tools.
That being said, the most important thing:
Lying has no place in our hobby, or life for that matter. Don’t do it. Don’t stretch the truth, don’t be deceptive, and don’t lie. The truth is what it is. It’s the most important part…
Keep the text light and in your own vocabulary. Say what you mean in as few words as possible. Do not use big words if you wouldn’t use them in regular conversation. Big words are not fancy, or proper. They slow the reader down. The famous example of the Gettysburg Address only having a few big words and the rest one and two syllable words should serve as a reminder. Write in first person if you own the car and are writing it yourself. I write in third person because I have spoken with the owner and am telling everyone what I learned. You can do the same if you’d like, but it’s probably easier if you maintain the first person. Say what you know.
Don’t get bogged down.
Keep the pace quick and only tell what needs to be said. Tech sheets are a great way to keep the technical jargon that slows the reader down to a minimum. If it’s a custom car, the valve size and compression isn’t nearly as important as the body modifications. Spend your time wisely. On the other hand, if the engine is a standout piece of mechanical wonder, say a hemi-headed Chevy, by all means that’s something to highlight. That’s where the car’s story value lies… and PLEASE… don’t use cliches. If I see one more “bumpstick tickling the valves” I’m going to have a cow.
Don’t forget anything.
Once I wrote up a great story on a car and realized I didn’t mention the interior. At all. A good article will flow around the car and transition from one area to the next. Start with the most relevant aspect of the story and flow from there. The dash might have cool vintage gauges to monitor the engine. Then talk about the engine. Follow the power trail down and end up at the wheels. Take me around the car in a fluid path… and don’t forget any of the four major detail groups. (Body, Engine, Interior, & Chassis)
Pick a clean angle.
The story of the car should flow around a key element of why it’s special. You can blast through a tech sheet and be done, and many editors do just that. But WHY are the seats red? What made you pick that car? Where did you find it? How did the build go? Creatively writing the story will keep the reader going to the last sentence. This does take a little experience, though, and why I get the big bucks. If you just want to blast down a tech sheet, that is always way better than NOT having it written down at all.
Run with it.
Like a great car project, nothing is ever “finished.” Writing can be fiddled with and revised endlessly. Don’t obsess over it. I always say “done is better than perfect” because perfection is never achieved. There’s always one more word to eliminate, a better way to phrase the last sentence, and a sentence to shorten. Don’t worry. However, DO write it out and then let it “cool off” for a bit and re-read it. Sleep on it. Put it away for a week. Come back and your brain will read it like a new piece. Spelling and clarity issues will become apparent and you’ll wonder how you missed them. That’s part of the process. Things your brain had filled in while writing will be discovered anew. Fix them and run with it.
Or just hit me up and I’ll gladly do it. That’s what I do.