Don't be put off by the cover or the title, which sounds like it came straight from from the Snake Oil Sales Catalogue! This volume contains a lot of useful advice which will help aspiring fiction writers to develop their craft. I called it a "tome" because it is, as others have pointed out, actually three Writers Workshop books ( "Plot", "Characters and Viewpoint", "Dialogue") all crammed together inside a tacky cover with a tackier title! The good news is that makes it a bargain package for any would-be writer to have on their shelf!
The approach throughout is one of thoughtful, sensible and practical problem solving for writers without ever becoming flip or patronising (cf How Not to Write a Novel - good advice packaged to get laughs and make new writers feel stipid and inadequate...not really very helpful!). From the outset here we are following the crucial golden rule of writing that There Are No Golden Rules! There are choices, judgements, possibilities , useful techniques and pitfalls and this book will help the new writer navigate those tricky waters with some degree of confidence.
All three writers clearly know their stuff and explain their thoughts on the craft of writing in clear, direct and simple lnaguage. There is no grand theory here, no holy grail; just a lot of good advice on fiction writing that seems to come from experience and is worth hearing. If you want to know when an incident becomes plot, how to control viewpoint or manage flashbacks there will be plenty to help you here. If, however, you are a published writer who plans to change the world with the greaterst book ever written, you are probably already beyond the scope of this collection.
If I have a quibble is is that the content is determinedly American in outlook and its references. That's not much of an issue with plot and characters but it does become more significant and poissibly a little bit grating for a non-American reader in the dialogue section, which is nonetheless very good at explaning a subject many new writers find among the most dififcult to grapple with.
All in all it's baragain price for a lot of very good advice...if you can just get past the cover and the title!