King says he is approaching the heart of the book with two theses. What are those theses? Do you agree or disagree with these theses? I would like for you to make particular reference to the second thesis.
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The two theses that Stephen King proposes are as follows:
- "Good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals (vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style) and then filling the third level of your toolbox with the right instruments."
- "While it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help to make a good writer out of a merely competent one."
Writing is a skill, and a good writer has this skill while the bad writer does not possess such a skill and is unable to attain it; the great writer has a certain talent, a God-given ability, that cannot be developed. Only skill can be developed, so the competent writer, who has a certain level of skill already, can become a good writer since practice with writing will help him attain this higher level of skill. The competent writer can become good by attaining what King calls "the tools" of a adequate vocabulary, and by learning the skills of breaking thoughts into smaller ideas of two or more, writing paragraphs that are "utilitarian"(--containing the topic sentence followed by supporting details and description), and learning how to use fragments that can generate images and create a certain tension. Going from competency to good entails hard work. Then, King suggests, if a writer works hard, the "Muse" will one day come to that writer. This work involves reading copiously, and writing copiously. Reading good writing provides writers with exemplary material; for, it teaches the writer about good characters, style, narration, development of plot, and "truth-telling." King insists that writers must read great books and "be swept away" by the narration: "You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you."
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