"So let me tell you what I think about gods. I think a real god is not going to be so scared or angry that he tries to keep other people down…A real god doesn’t care about control. A real god already has control of everything that needs controlling. Real gods would want to teach you how to be just like them."
The danger that keeps me just a little frightened with every book I write, however, is that I'll overreach myself once too often and try to write a story that I'm just plain not talented or skilful enough to write. That's the dilemma every storyteller faces. It is painful to fail. But it is far sadder when a storyteller stops wanting to try.
A strange thing happened then. The Speaker agreed with her that she had made a mistake that night, and she knew when he said the words that it was true, that his judgement was correct. And yet she felt strangely healed, as if simply speaking her mistake were enough to purge some of the pain of it. For the first time, then, she caught a glimpse of what the power of speaking might be. It wasn't a matter of confession, penance, and absolution, like the priests offered. It was something else entirely. Telling the story of who she was, and then realizing that she was no longer the same person. That she had made a mistake, and the mistake had changed her, and now she would not make the mistake again because she had become someone else, someone less afraid, someone more compassionate.
There was no doubt now in Ender's mind. There was no help for him. Whatever he faced, now and forever, no one would save him from it. Peter might be scum, but he had been right, always right; the power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to kill and destroy, because if you can't kill then you are always subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever save you.
[It] was written and sold. I knew it was a strong story because I cared about it and believed in it. I had no idea that it would have the effect it had on the audience. While most people ignored it, of course, and continue to live full and happy lives without reading it or anything else by me, there was still a surprisingly large group who responded to the story with some fervency.
But I hope that in the lives of [the characters], you will find stories worth holding in your memory, perhaps even in your heart. That's the transaction that counts more than best-seller lists, royalty statements, awards, or reviews. Because in the pages of this book, you and I will meet one-on-one, my mind and yours, and you will enter a world of my making and dwell there, not as a character that I control, but as a person with a mind of your own. You will make of my story what you need it to be, if you can. I hope my tale is true enough and flexible enough that you can make it into a world worth living in.
Well, I'm your man. I'm the bloody bastard you wanted when you had me spawned. I'm your tool, and what difference does it make if I hate the part of me that you most need? What difference does it make that when the little serpents killed me in the game, I agreed with them, and was glad.
This is the essence of the transaction between storyteller and audience. The 'true' story is not the one that exists in my mind; it is certainly not the written words on the bound paper that you hold in your hands. The story in my mind is nothing but a hope; the text of the story is the tool I created in order to try to make that hope a reality. The story itself, the true story, is the one that the audience members create in their minds, guided and shaped by my text, but then transformed, elucidated, expanded, edited, and clarified by their own experience, their own desires, their own hopes and fears.