This book is an interesting read and dated, both in a number of ways. The two main takeaways seem to be “Publishers are Evil…but not all” and “Read! If you want to write, read!”
There’s no question that Koontz is a bestselling author so one would think he’d have a lot to offer. I didn’t find much revelatory in this book. Definitely a lack of advice re technique, character, plot, dialogue, … Definitely lots of suggestions for whom to read to learn technique, character, plot, dialogue, …
There’s a lot about the business of writing in the book, specifically how bad publishing drives out good publishing (read “lots of bad books drive out good books”) and he gives several examples of poorly written, edited, printed, …books taking up bookstore shelves so there’s less room for accomplished writers to put their wares out.
Makes one wonder what he’d have to say about the self-publishing industry.
Some of the book reads like restrained rant against those who done him wrong. There are some sections where Koontz writes there’s not much to write and then goes on for several pages of personal opinion without getting to a “do this” or “don’t do that.” I found those sections interesting character studies of Koontz, not about writing.
He does offer a whopper of a “must reading” list in his final chapter along with descriptions of what to read for (technique, et cetera) and what books by each author are worth reading (in his opinion). This I did find valuable and have queued up my local library for same.
But in the end, I wanted more from someone of Koontz’s reputation and chops than this book provided. This book is a follow up to a previous book Koontz wrote that was genre specific. I suspect he was going through a transition when he wrote this book – he comments about moving from genre to mainstream many times. Indeed, that may be the main thrust of the book; don’t lock yourself into a genre if you can produce mainstream content.
I did dogear several pages so there’s enough here to be worth a read. As usual, I’ll give it a re-read (my habit with books I learn from, a dog sucking the last of the marrow from an old bone, me).