Editing Rant: White Box

Photo by Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma’aji on Unsplash

Break the White Box (cut and paste from an editing letter)

Fantasy genre is rich in texture, color, scents, and tastes. As mentioned, the dialog lacks the fantasy texture when Ping-Pong (see 1/10/2023 post) is happening. In addition, often a scene opens with a passive “real-estate” description of the situation using only copula.

Pretend example

The ping-pong table was a lawn green, but the paddles were red rubber. The cement floor was softened by the rubber pad. The rubber pad saved the players’ knees when jumping around and was broad enough so they didn’t have to worry about running off of it. Flickering neon lights were headache inducing.


A lawn green ping-pong table made the red rubber paddles vibrate under the neon lights, a color combination the eyes revolted against seeing side-by-side. A very large rubber mat sat under the table to save the players’ knees from hopping around on the unforgiving cement floor.

Actual Editing Rant

Don’t do the real-estate description. It happens so often.

The house looks like this. Has this number of rooms. Good Gardens.

Immerse the reader in the situation, full sensory overload. Don’t just provide the grocery list of features.