Writing Exercise: White Box

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Dialog happens. It snaps, madcap, overlap. Wondrous.

In a blank room, with no action by the unnamed and undescribed characters. White Box Syndrome strikes again.

Rooms cannot be White Boxes (unless, of course, they are), but expanding beyond the perfection dialog can be a challenge. For my flash New Life Plans, all the activity happens in a small room, however by concentrating on the chair Dru sits in, the reader is oriented within the small stage instead of adrift in a generic interview room.

WRITING EXERCISE: From a work-in-progress (WIP) or recent story, find a scene where the “box” hasn’t been fleshed out. What is missing? Smell, sight, clothing, furniture, room temperature? What do you think needs to anchor the story to a stage? Rewrite the scene. After rewriting the scene, what ended up being the strongest anchor for the scene? When you started the rewrite, what anchor did you think was going to hold it together?


My Attempt

For New Life Plans, I thought the interviewer’s computer screens were creating the anchor for the science fiction story – but they were too abstract, and in some cases did not exist in reality for the point-of-view (POV) character, making things even more of a White Box. It was the chair, fighting with the mechanism which grounded the scene in reality.

How about you? Comment below.