February 14, 2008

Cinematic Writing: Revisited

I mentioned before how in The West Wing, the director or cinematographer likes to rest the camera on a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt or George Washington at opportune moments. It's a way to gently nudge the viewer, "Hey look, gravitas."

It works because Martin Sheen is a great actor as President Barlet and it makes sense in times of war and peace to match forefathers with aspiring leaders.

I think that in a book, a similar principle applies. Put a young man next to portraits Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, or Jacob Summerlin, and all of the sudden you're thinking "legend." If the comparison is dramatic enough, you can sell the reader that the subject of your biography deserves to live alongside the greats.

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