“Buried Talents”

July 11, 2009

This vignette by Richard Matheson presents an interesting technique for escalation.  It’s brief story of an odd man who plays a game at the fair, the one where you chuck ping-pong balls into a fish bowl, and never misses.

The escalation is just that - the man never misses.  It is, by nature of the scene, repetitive, but it’s the repetition of the man’s success that builds the story, bringing the reader along.  Will he ever miss?  Is he a shill?  The carny gets first annoyed, the suspicious, and finally upset as this stranger drops ball after ball in the same fish bowl.

As a writer, this story presents a fine example of escalation through repetition.

As a reader, I’m left without answers.  But, such can be the nature of a vignette.

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