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5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing

(The Writer's Toolbox Series)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  36 reviews

Don't fall victim to the 12 fatal flaws of fiction writing

Fiction writers often struggle to improve their craft

And the biggest challenge comes from the inability to see what isn’t working. The prose feels off. The scene isn’t gelling. The dialogue sounds stilted or clunky. But they don’t know why or how to fix it.

This book lays it all out

5 Editors Tackle the Twelve F

Kindle Edition, 381 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Ubiquitous Press
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4.32  · 
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 ·  121 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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This is the first book on the writing craft I’ve finished in a while. I’ve started a lot but stopped reading because they felt so basic. Often they all have the same information, and it just doesn’t feel like it is worth my time. This book was amazing! Not only did it tackle some different information, but the whole set up made it very useful.

These editors worked together to tackle the fatal flaws from different perspe
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received an advance copy of 5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing in exchange for this honest review. As an editor, I value opportunities for continuing education and refresher courses. So I jumped at the chance to review this book written by five of my respected colleagues.

Together they explore twelve areas authors commonly find difficult to master. Taking one “fatal flaw” at a time, these editors take turns discussing ways to identify these issues and ways to fix them. Each
Glen Donaldson
Dec 12, 2015 rated it liked it
A wise person once observed that advice books on writing can be legitimately compared to tools sold to fossickers during the gold rush days of the 1800’s. History shows the only individuals who reliably prospered during such manic periods of ‘gold fever’ (“There’s bound to be some in them thar hills!”) were the business–minded types who set up shop supplying the requisite tools of trade – pans, picks, spades, gloves etc – to the ever hopeful prospectors; ninety-five percent of who would never se ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a quick read!! I would have finished it a lot sooner if I didn't have a lot going on. But to get right into this review I can say if you're a fiction writer, than this book is for you! It will help you out with learning right tricks to help with editing and not only that but help with learning to use words wisely.

Lori Clark
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, non-fiction
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed reading this book. I found it very informative and painfully (at times) enlightening. I've read book that were guilty of some of these flaws and thought to myself: "Get on with it already." I found this book extremely useful for strengthening my own writing process. As well as helping with the editing process.

If you are an author, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book today and try not to take it personally when
Bethany Kaczmarek
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So often, I think writers have too many editing books on their shelves. Editing is so subjective, and the ideas and methods of various books are as diverse as their editor-authors. But that's exactly WHY this book is one of the few that should be on your shelf.

For every flaw addressed, you get the suggestions of at least three editors. Five offer their hard-won wisdom throughout the book, and I have no doubt you'll find tricks and ideas that work for you. It's so easy as a reader to see what wor
Brittany Fichter
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely the most valuable book on writing mechanics and self-editing I've ever read. This book is a must-have for every writer! In fact, I liked it so much I ordered a hard copy to go along with me ebook version. I would give it ten stars if I could! More of this series will soon be joining my library...
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This book has already transformed my writing more than any other book I've read----more than any class I've taken.
Showing the examples of when it's done wrong and when it's done right, was exactly what I needed. I have struggled for years to understand why my writing stays very much on the page----no leaping off it whatsoever.
Practicing the techniques in this book was not only fun, it has completely changed the way I approach my writing! I am definitely going to read ever
Val Mathews
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book on the craft of writing fiction. It's a unique look behind the scenes, into an editor's head--five editors! It gives clear examples to help you understand what it means to head hop, info dump, feed the reader information, etc. I recommend this book to all my writer friends and clients.
Kay Oliver
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Handy dandy editing book

This book is packed with great info. Several editors weigh in on each subject all with different useful but not conflicting ideas. Whatever your bad writing habits are, you will undoubtedly find help within these pages.
Sara Baptista
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great insight about writing!
Vicki Arnott
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book full of practical advice, clearly explained with examples and exercises. This book really helped me understand how to improve my writing.
Kathy Trueman
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is taken from a blog, but it's well organized and informative. I really liked the format of one issue at a time, tackled by each of 5 editors.

Experienced writers will find it less useful than beginning writers, but even for the experienced writer, there is probably good insight in some of the chapters.

There are a lot of writing exercises, which I don't bother with, but I didn't find that a reason to lower my rating.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I always want to learn more about some of the important tricks of the writing trade (especially now, before I get back behind my laptop to write my own stories), and I've been lucky enough to have received an Uncorrected Proof Copy of 5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing, part of The Writer’s Toolbox Series by C. S. Lakin, with Linda S. Clare, Christy Distler, Robin Patchen, and Rachel Starr Thomson.

That this isn't just another book about How To Write, is made clear in the intr
Phil Wade
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Save the would-be author in your family a few headaches with this book from The Writer’s Toolbox Series, 5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing. Editors C. S. Lakin, Linda S. Clare, Christy Distler, Robin Patchen, and Rachel Starr Thomson collaborate on how to handle twelve problems in fiction writing. Each editor writes on one or more aspects of each of the twelve problems, giving readers what amounts to a panel discussion on the problem areas.

With five editors writing on the sa
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As writers—as you surely must be if you’re considering buying this book—we are all undoubtedly avid readers. As readers, we instinctively know what works and what doesn’t. I’m sure you’ve all experienced moments of pure connection and immersion while reading your favorite novels; however achieving that same feeling in your own writing is never as easy as sensing what works (and omitting what doesn’t). That’s where 5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing comes in.

As previous review
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing is an essential addition to The Writer's Toolbox Series.

This how-to-write book is different from the myriad other writing how-to books on the market in that these editors SHOW rather than just TELL. And then they SHOW why the mantra “Show. Don’t Tell” is not always the best advice.They reiterate that you need to know the rules in order to break the rules.

This book caters to writers who love examples. ME!

Each fatal flaw is contained in its o
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a writer working towards debuting my novel, this book is an exciting addition to my Writer's Toolbox. With five editors covering a vast array of holes that sink our fictional ships, it's a reference I look forward to returning to again and again as I edit my manuscript.

I liked the variety of editors who wrote this book. Together they covered much more ground than one could alone, and I liked reading their different voices as they explained the flaws of fiction writing from each of their uniqu
Jason Gillikin
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Good advice; not-so-good examples

The five editors cover 12 subjects and all 12 subjects are, I think, spot-on. Thematically, this book has real value. However, the individual editors are hit-or-miss; Lakin is probably the strongest of the whole. My only gripe is that all five editors seem to favor a specific style of writing that isn't necessarily the best style for beginning authors to emulate. The highly emotive blend of third-person narration with first-person mental asides pervades the examp
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-on-writing
This was an incredibly helpful book. While I believe I have a solid grasp of what makes a good plot and overall story as a whole, I struggle more on the scene-by-scene or sentence-by-sentence level as a writer, and this book did a great job of meeting me where I was at and showing how to avoid different writing flaws. For a book written by five different authors, it flowed very smoothly, and the multiplicity of examples they used to illustrate their points was incredibly helpful. All-in-all, thi ...more
Kristina Stanley
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Twelve Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing provides a practical method for authors to review and edit their own work. Each section contains an overview of one of the 12 flaws, before and after examples, a checklist, and a practice sample. This book is written by experienced editors and provides authors with a toolbox to utilize throughout their writing career. The Twelve Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing is an excellent reference guide and a must-read for all writers. – Kristina Stanley: Bestselling ...more
Debbie Tremel
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I started writing my novel, I read a number of books and writing. This book, by far was the most helpful and made a huge difference in the quality of my book. It has detailed information and clear examples so you really can incorporate they're advice immediately. As editors themselves, their information has the feel of experience. Since reading they're book, I've found the flaws they identify in other books and it's given me an understanding of why some books are really better than others. ...more
Doug Walsh
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers
An excellent addition to the growing collection of writing craft books that every author should own. The five editors each tackle a different aspect of the 12 "fatal flaws" and provide excellent plain-spoken explanations and helpful before/after passages (many of the former are quite cringe-inducing).

I'll be sure to reference each chapter's Fatal Flaw checklist as I revise each of my chapters. And recommend everyone else do the same.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm an avid reader so I'm always interested in the craft of writing. The do's and don'ts of fiction writing is especially fascinating;I love the scenarios this book would give of a fatal flaw and then give you the correct way it should have been written. The best part was the scenarios given for you to correct on your own. If I enjoyed reading this as a reader then a writer would be like a kid in a candy store to learn these valuable lessons.
Brenda Clark Thomas
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is for the true beginner in my opinion. I already knew most of the fatal flaws. I've read better books on the subject, but I will say this one was unique in that it gave writing samples and asked the reader to figure out what was wrong with them. Then they showed what their corrections would have been on the next page.
Sarah Bierle
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the best "how-to-improve" your writing books I've ever read!

Through practical examples and friendly teaching, five fiction editors explain how to fix those stories which have potential, and yet seem mediocre. There are check-lists for quick reference and sections to test your structure editing skills.

A must-read for fiction writers.
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This helpful resource addresses many critical elements of fiction writing and editing. The authors distill their topics into concise, readable chapters which are wonderfully supplemented with "before" and "after" examples, showing the improvement made by eliminating each flaw. Packed with information, this is a great tool for any fiction writer.
Tina Forcier
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This book has a lot of good info. Still reading it. I like the examples from different writers. It's easy to follow with language that's like I'm at a writers group or listening to a writing coach.
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked up several useful tips. Some things were a bit repetitive.
Leslie M.
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
You can find my review on my blog:
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Other books in the series

The Writer's Toolbox Series (6 books)
  • The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction: Your Blueprint for Building a Strong Story (The Writer's Toolbox Series)
  • Layer Your Novel: The Innovative Method for Plotting Your Scenes
  • Shoot Your Novel: Cinematic Techniques to Supercharge Your Writing (The Writer's Toolbox Series)
  • Writing the Heart of Your Story: The Secret to Crafting an Unforgettable Novel (The Writer's Toolbox Series)
  • Writing the Heart of Your Story: The Secret to Crafting an Unforgettable Novel
“It’s the golden rule of fiction: show, don’t tell. To rephrase: immerse your readers in your story. Transport them. Involve them. Elicit emotion in them. Win their hearts.” 0 likes
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