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.
and
The rear door opened and the coiffed white mop bobbed into daylight.
and
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.