Saturday, October 22, 2011

A heady device

If done well, devices such as repeated (but varied) references to a particular thing in a story can make a piece of writing stronger.

I thought Bill Landauer did that in his story on people who were hoping to see Vice President Joe Biden in York. Bill kept referring to Biden's head/hair as, in a way, a symbol of what people were hoping to see. The reference starts in the the third graf -- "Now they all waited for the white haired dome in the black car to zip past ..." -- and reappeared a couple times:

Inside, behind tinted windows, white hair flashed.
The rear door opened and the coiffed white mop bobbed into daylight.
Then, to the back of Biden's head, "We voted for you!"
I thought by using one of Biden's most notable physical characteristics, Bill captured what it's like to try to catch a glimpse of someone famous in a crowd.