Tale of the Truck III: Learning From Expected Sources About Unexpected Things…

How’s it going? To make a long story short, Farm and Fleet took a look at the truck, or they almost did. They told us they let it sit, and it started up every time they tried to start it, with no problems. The upside was, they didn’t charge us anything. The receptionist told us the ignition switch could be a problem, but if it was that we’d have to take it somewhere else, because they don’t do work like that.

So after some looking around in the phone book (before the lady from Farm and Fleet had come to pick us up), we found a shop nearby Farm and Fleet that was open. They told us to drive the truck around after we picked it up from Farm and Fleet (and if the truck started), to get it warm enough to see if we could recreate the problem.

The truck started, we drove, we parked. The shop owner said his guy wouldn’t be back until the afternoon, and that he’d have him get right on it.

I could have brought my laptop and edited at KFC, but it was kinda noisy in there, and I don’t know if I was in the right frame to be concentrating anyway.

Fast-forward about an hour…

After lunch, we could see that the truck had been moved, so it had obviously been started up. Which it had.

The mechanic told us a couple of things to try:

First, if it was a grounding/battery problem, we could find out by turning the lights on and trying to start the truck. If the lights went “black,” he said, not just dim, but totally out when we turned the key, the battery was the problem, or the grounding.

Second, some times batteries get green corrosion under the metal part where the clips to the battery hook on.

The third thing was that we needed to know if the neutral safety switch was malfunctioning or not–that’s what the transmission reads to see if the vehicle is in park or not. If we could start it in neutral, then it was probably that (I’ll come back to this later).

The last thing was to engage the key, and have someone else pop under the truck itself and tap the starter on its bottom with something–just a little tap. He said if it started after that tapping, the starter needed to be replaced.

Oops, that was more like “several” things to try. He said all this, he told us, because he didn’t want us to have to replace the starter if we didn’t absolutely have to.

Another thing that occurred to us as part of number 3 above was if the shifter was stuck in between gears a little, or wasn’t reading things correctly–which would cause it to not start.

And to make this all weirder somehow, we were able to drive the truck all day yesterday, and start it about six times, with no problems.

What’s my point here?

Well, when I need to know about cars or what-have-ya, I go to a mechanic–an expert.

If you write fiction, it’s the same thing–only instead of readers actually going to you and talking to you (unless you’re doing a radio interview or talk show), the way they ask you things is going to be inside their own heads as they’re reading your story.

Questions that you’ll know the answers to because you will have planned out things to have readers ask the questions you’ll be answering (and here’s where we split from mechanics–I don’t think we have masked men running around tinkering with peoples’ cars–like gremlins or something).

If you write to persuade with emails or copy, “readers” (or prospects) will be experts about how they perceive what their problem is, and what they’ve done or haven’t done to try to fix it. You’d pair that with your expertise on the product, how it helps people solve problems, and what makes this solution different or better than the other one’s out there.

Other times, prospects will only know that they have a problem, what is it, and why/how they’re suffering, depending on what’s going on.

If you’re stuck for a subject line, or piece of a setting, ask yourself: What questions would readers ask? And how, as the expert, can you answer?

Find a way to weave things in–you might be surprised what you come up with.

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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