5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing – A Review

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Where there is no guidance the people fall,
            But in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Proverbs 11:14 – NASB

I’m going to take a little liberty with this verse, which is usually is used to refer to a country, another form of government, or even organizations. I’m going to apply it to writers.

5 Editors fiction writing
Editors exist to provide counsel to writers. Without their guidance, a writer often fails. Without an editor’s counsel, a writer rarely has victory of selling a book. The beauty of 5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing is the abundance of counselors.


C. S. Lakin has teamed with four other editors to examine some of the more common errors that writers commit. Fatal flaws such as point of view, show don’t tell, backstory, and nine other common errors are just a sampling of what is offered. Nothing new here, really. We read or hear how to avoid these writing problems often. The difference with 5 Editors is 5 editors.

This is where the “abundance of counselors” comes in. Each chapter covers a specific flaw with each editor giving advice about that flaw, not just one, all five. Each editor has a different take on writing improvement. Since no two editors has the same way of handling a problem, the advice from each one is valuable.

Instead of just telling the reader the problem and how to fix it, each editor gives a “before” and “after” example. Sometimes the before example is so bad, it’s easy to see the problem. I particularly like the ones that are subtler, causing me to really think through how to make the writing better.

Unlike many books that tells us about writing mistakes, 5 Editors also includes practice passages for the reader to correct. Following the practice paragraphs, a corrected example is given. It is noted that there is no one-way to improve the writing.

And there’s more. Each chapter includes a checklist to avoid the fatal flaw in your writing. If there is one particular problem that a writer has, the checklist can be printed to have nearby when editing a draft.

A couple of items that I would like to have seen are the corrected examples for each chapter’s exercises in the back of the book. It is less tempting to just turn the page and look. Having the fatal flaw checklist in the back of the book also as printable pages would make it easier for the reader to print the one(s) needed.

The book has been written specifically for fiction writers. Non-fiction writers shouldn’t pass on it. To make non-fiction to come alive, the writer needs to be sure not to overwrite, have weak construction, and have good descriptions. There are many tidbits of information to improve your non-fiction story.

Editors can use this information to help their clients who may have these specific problems. In addition to recommending the book, having it on your editing bookshelf will help you advise your clients. Editors often need to review these various problems to keep the editing eye sharp. Go ahead, practice editing the samples and practice paragraphs.

5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing is available in print and Kindle format. I think I’ll take both, one at my desk and one for the road.

C.S. Lakin has provided one book (print or e-book in any format) to give away to my US readers. Leave a comment with your #1 fatal flaw in your fiction, non-fiction, or blog. (One of mine is telling instead of showing.) Drawing ends November 22 at 11:59 p.m.

5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing
C. S. Lakin and others
Ubiquitous Press
Kindle – $4.99 pre-order, available December 1, 2015

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