Home > Creativity, Literature, Quotations > I would much rather read (or write) a story in which a small person becomes bigger, and dies as a result, than one in which a small person becomes smaller, and lives as a result.

I would much rather read (or write) a story in which a small person becomes bigger, and dies as a result, than one in which a small person becomes smaller, and lives as a result.

Stephen R Donaldson, the Gradual Interview, Official Website.

The nearly full quote is as follows:

There are many different kinds of suspense. Is-he-going-to-live-through-it is one of the most obvious, but it isn’t necessarily one of the most useful. Especially for a writer with my intentions. Will-he-or-won’t-he-face-the-real-issues is often more interesting to me; therefore more suspenseful. And that kind of suspense isn’t weakened at all by knowing that subsequent books exist.

On an entirely different level, Lester del Rey would never have published a trilogy in which the “hero” gets killed in the end. He would have considered that a violation of the writer’s (and the publisher’s) contract with the reader. And he was really only interested in publishing books he considered ripe for sequels. So: NO KILLING THE MAIN CHARACTER. (Therefore it probably goes without saying that he was *not* my editor for “White Gold Wielder”.)

And on an entirely personal level, live-or-die doesn’t engage me anywhere near as much as grow-or-shrink. As I like to say, I’m not attracted to stories (my own or anyone else’s) in which small people become smaller. I see too much of that all around me: I don’t need more. I would much rather read (or write) a story in which a small person becomes bigger, and dies as a result, than one in which a small person becomes smaller, and lives as a result.

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