No One Wants a Top Fuel Writer
The Christmas Tree lights take forever to change. The scent of nitromethane fills your nostrils as you wait, its fumes coursing through your veins until they reach your heart, causing it beat in time with the 10,000 horsepower engine that powers your aluminum engine. 2,250 pounds of precise engineering surround you like a carbon-fiber composite coffin. The rumble of the machine tickles your nerves, making you anxious. Your eyes stare past the front end of your dragster, seeking the finish line a quarter of a mile in front of you. If everything goes according to plan, 4.4 seconds after the Christmas Tree lights change your front tires will be crossing that line. This immediate future depends on how close to a .000 reaction time—the perfect reaction time—you can come. You want to risk a glance at your competition who sits in a top fuel car length away, knowing he, or she, wants to reach that line first, but resist the urge for fear of missing the green light. Suddenly, the wait is over. Both machines surge forward with a roar that sounds like a flight of angry dragons, yet you hear nothing but the beat of your heart. In less than a dozen beats it is over. All that remains is for someone to be declared a winner.
In the time it took to read and, hopefully, experience what it is like to be behind the wheel of a top fuel dragster, the race would have been over and in the books. What you didn’t realize is that none of this could have happened without the long hours and dedication of the car owner, his driver (most times the are one and the same,) the engine builder, the car fabricator, the pit crew, the track crew…you get the picture. A lot of time and effort is required in making sure that 4.4 seconds goes according to plan.
That same time and devotion is required by the writer as well. Without the necessary research, you cannot transport the reader from wherever they are into the driver’s seat of a top fuel dragster, or the pilot’s seat of a jet fighter, or even the creaking saddle of a saddle tramp making his way across the wild west. Without the necessary research, all you can give your reader is a brief distraction that will leave him or her feeling like they have wasted their precious time. No one wants to feel like the driver who reached the finish line at the 4.5 mark, and if you don’t appreciate your reader enough to go the extra quarter-mile, that is exactly how they will feel. Remember, no one wants a top fuel writer.
Just thought I would jot this down.