Michael Allen is methodical and cautions against writers (like me) who aren't. His good advice is dispensed concisely, persuasively and with convincing back up. I didn't enjoy reading it, but then I don't enjoy reading my bank statements but it's in my own best interest that I do. Tough love makes a tough read.
The book says the things my family and friends have gently tried to tell me about my attempts at writing, and sensing my resistance say something nice instead out of kindness. I couldn't take what Michael Allen has to say from someone I know, but from a stranger, in a well constructed book of straightforward pointers, I swallowed it.
After I read `How to write a novel that works' I looked back over my own favourite books. It's uncanny how they all fit this book's suggestions.