Story Planning Ahead


Despite that I wrote more than 600 articles in 2013, I can name my favorite in a heartbeat. Without question, “The Tale of White Lightning“, the story of performance-boat owner Travis Reed and his remarkable relationship with the late engine builder Brad Smith, tops my list on personal and professional levels. It was one of those stories where, as a writer, the best thing you can do is stay out of the way and tell it simply and honestly. It remains the only thing I’ve ever written that makes me tear up and smile at the same time.

But there’s a story behind that story. About a week after we ran an Image of the Week—featuring a white Skater catamaran—called “White Lightning at Lake of the Ozarks” on, I got an email from Autumn Terry, a young woman who is a friend of Reed. Terry asked me if I wanted to write a story about the “real” White Lightning, Reed’s 41-foot V-bottom with Smith Power engines that spends most of its time running on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks.

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(Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.)