Stephen King has produced two of my favorite books about the writing craft: Danse Macabre and On Writing. Both are honest, down-to-earth, funny and chock full of practical advice.
Craft. That's the thing. You can't do "art" until you know the craft. How do you structure sentences? How do you create a good ending? Do the characters work? Are there too many characters? What is the "theme" of your story or novel? King lays it all down. I'll take his advice over any arty-farty academic from some English Lit faculty.
(I wish, though, that King would follow his own advice and sometimes write shorter novels...)