KP Book Review: 5 Editors Tackle The 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing by C.S. Lakin et al.

Sometimes you read a book about writing and enjoy it, but you never think about it after you put it back on the shelf. Other times a book immediately earns a spot in your section of writing resources that you reference regularly.

This book is definitely one of the latter.12_Fatal_Flaws_of_Fiction_Writing

C.S. Lakin, the author of over a dozen novels and several books on fiction writing, joins four other editors to do what the title says: tackle the twelve fatal flaws of fiction writing. These flaws include everything from backstory dumps and POV violations, to overwriting and pacing problems. And all of the editor’s solutions to these flaws are excellent.

Each editor covers a different angle or subtopic under the chapter’s fatal flaw. But even though the book is written by various authors, it is remarkably coherent. There isn’t much repetition from editor to editor and the transitions feel natural. It’s clear that considerable time and effort went into making sure that the book felt unified despite the multiplicity of authors.

One of this book’s biggest positives is its wealth of examples. In addition to discussing the fatal flaws of writing, the editors demonstrate what these flaws look like and how to resolve them. This is helpful as it keeps the book eminently practical. I learned as much through the examples as I did from the general advice given.

This is one of the best books I’ve read so far on the writer’s craft. This book focuses on one main goal: showing how to write sentences and scenes that engage the reader, and it accomplishes this beautifully. For writers who believe they have a good grasp of sketching the broad outline and plot of their stories, but who struggle to bring it into reality, this book may be just the fix.

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.
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  1. ATTENTION KEEPERS: Buy, steal, or borrow this book. ;-P It’s amazingly insightful.

  2. This book definitely sounds helpful. I’ll have to check this one out for sure, great review!

  3. My stack of books to read is getting really high. Like, it might topple over if y’all don’t stop finding such good books to read! Thanks for sharing such a great resource, Josiah!

  4. Thanks for sharing about the book! I’m not the only author though. I teamed up with four other editors, so we all bring to the table a wealth of insights and examples!

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