First, I'm finally teaching another blurb writing class in March. It will run from the 3rd-31st and is a crash course in plotting as well as blurb writing. You can register here. And of course if you wanted to spread the word that is always greatly appreciated.
Now for the review!!!
Okay, this was another craft book. Like most craft books it was aimed at amateurs. For $9.99 things that are free in the blog-o-sphere, things that anyone who has been writing fiction for any amount of time probably already knows, were repeated. For 300 pages. Blah. Because I wasn't getting much in the way of new information I found this book boring and hard to read. It took me much longer than the last craft book. However, some of the repeated information was a good refresher and I found one thing that made me think, so that was good. But another thing that bothered me is that the author (who was apparently a writing professor at some point) used examples from short stories and novels interchangeably. For certain techniques like foreshadowing or characterization I think this works. But when you're talking about pacing, opening lines and even endings I'm not sure these short story examples work to help a writer craft a novel. The pacing of a short story is naturally faster by virtue of being short. He made the point that a reader of a short story will only give you a few paragraphs to grab them but neglected the fact that paragraphs into a short story you're already hitting plot like a hammer. Your short story should have grabbed long before that. I think for most people--because the plot has to span hundreds of pages--a novel is harder to keep fast paced, but it still has to be or the reader will put it down. That's why I think for some segments the author attempted examples from novels would have been better.
All in all, as far as craft books go this was pretty average. 3 stars