The Newbie Writers’ Podcast
Special Guest: C.S Lakin
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 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing demonstrates the deadly dozen pitfalls on the road to a strong story, along with revisions that show writers exactly how to avoid novel failure.
No other writing craft book offers such detailed instruction in how to spot and remedy the major flaws of fiction writing.
What makes this book an important addition to a writer’s bookshelf?
- More than 60 Before and After passages showcase each of the twelve fatal flaws, which are then picked apart and examined to help writers spot these flaws in their own writing and fix them.
- Five editors with extensive backgroundin both editing fiction and writing novels bring a wealth of insights, examples, and solutions to these flaws, using various genre styles and POVs.
- Each chapter ends witha checklist to help writers seek and destroy these fatal flaws in their manuscript, followed by bonus Before and After passages to help them test what they’ve learned.
This in-depth guide to self-editing is an invaluable resource for any writer of any genre. It shows, not just tells, how to write better fiction. Using it, you’ll be armed with the tools and skills you need to conquer the twelve fatal flaws of fiction writing.
- C. S. Lakin is novelist and writing coach who spends her time divided between developing new book ideas and helping writers polish theirs. She is the author of fourteen novels – six contemporary novels, seven in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, and one in historical Western romance. Whether she is exploring the depths of the human psyche and pushing her characters to the edge of desperation, or embellishing an imaginary world replete with talking pigs and ancient magical curses, she is doing what she loves best – using her creativity and skills to inspire and affect her readers.
Here are some of the 12 fatal flaws:
- Overwriting—the most egregious and common flaw in fiction writing.
- Nothin’ Happenin’—Too many stories take too long to get going. Learn what it means to startin medias res.
- Weak Construction—It sneaks in at the level of words and sentences, and rears up in up in the form of passive voice,ing verbs, and misplaced modifiers.
- Too Much Backstory—the bane of many manuscripts. Backstory has its place, but too often it serves as an info dump and bogs down pacing.
- POV Violations—Head hopping, characters knowing things they can’t know, and foreshadowing are just some of the many POV violations explored.
- Telling instead of Showing—Writers have heard this admonition, but there’s a lot to understanding how and when to show instead of tell.
- Lack of Pacing and Tension—Many factors affect pacing and tension: clunky passages, mundane dialogue, unimportant information, and so much more.
- Flawed Dialogue Construction—Writers need to learn to balance speech and narrative tags and avoid “on the nose” speech.
- “Underwriting”—just as fatal as overwriting. Too often scenes are lacking the necessary actions, descriptions, and details needed to bring them to life.
- Description Deficiencies and Excesses—Learning how to balance description is challenging, and writers need to choose wisely just what to describe and in what way.
Word of the Week
with Anu Garg
noun: 1. The quality or state of being green. 2. Youthful innocence.
From Latin viridis (green). Earliest documented use: 1430.
“Penobscot Bay shimmered blue against the viridity of the forested hills in a true postcard moment.”
Mary Ann Anderson; Of Moose and Men: Maine’s Central Coast; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Aug 16, 2009.
Consider the cliché, get to the bottom of it. Where is the bottom and how do you know you’ve reached it? What does the bottom look like? What happens when a character gets to the very, very bottom. What then?
Furthermore, the terrorist to commit suicide due to their poor status uses an illegal
immigrant; the immigrants see it as better means to earn a living compared to their mother country.