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The most comprehensive source for everything DIVERGENT.

Another Round of Q&A With Veronica Roth!

We got another round of Q&A from Veronica Roth today!

Here are the questions that were answered:

jackpk asked: How many completed first drafts of novels have you written? (Not including Divergent or Insurgent)

VR Answered: Just one. And it’s permanently trunked.

peetabreadforlife asked: What is the hardest thing to write and what is easier? Fight scenes? Dialogue? Funny scenes?

VR Answered: I think certain types of scenes are like muscles— some, I’m better at than others, just because I’ve worked harder to develop them. I have a hard time with romantic scenes because I get too clinical with it. (Like: “she puts her hand on his back, lateral to the spine and posterior to the shoulder blades.” Okay, not that bad, but you get it.) I have to rework them several times, usually. Action scenes or fight scenes, I’ve always loved, so I’ve written a lot of them— which means they’re easier for me. Dialogue and humor are in between. Sometimes easy, sometimes hard, usually depending on the characters.

kelphead asked: Hello, Veronica! First, I just wanted to tell you that buying Divergent was the best thing I’ve done (besides reading it of course.) I easily fell in love with the book, and I’m proud to say that it’s my favorite book. Also, I’ve been wondering, do you think that Peter’s character might develop later on?

VR Answered: So glad you enjoyed the book! As far as Peter goes, he certainly becomes more complicated, so in that sense he develops. Though you’ll have to wait and see whether he changes or not.

arabianchikons asked: Does writing in first person come naturally to you?

VR Answered: The way I think about first person is, for me, most of the time, it’s easier to start with. Usually I have a good sense of a character and how they sound, so it helps me get into the story faster.

HOWEVER. First person gets really hard, eventually, because suddenly the story and the world are restricted to one viewpoint. For example, Erudite comes off looking pretty bad in book 1 (for obvious reasons), but I think a big part of that is that it’s Tris telling the story, and she grew up hating them. So sometimes it’s hard to reveal how things really are versus how one character sees them. It was also extremely difficult to show parts of the world that Tris just isn’t IN, like Candor or Amity.

So I guess my answer is, writing in first person is easier for me at first, and writing in third is easier later. Nothing really comes naturally. Everything requires work. It just depends on what the story needs, what kind of work that will be.

kawhittlesey asked: The world of Divergent is contained to Chicago, yet you drop tantalizing hints that the outside world is still there — even an implication that the Chicago residents are prisoners. In books 2 and 3, will we get to see what has become of the rest of the world?

VR Answered: Let’s just say I don’t hint at things tantalizingly for no reason. That would just be mean.

departmentofdauntless asked: Did you ever have a time when you hated what you wrote? If so, How do you get over being over judgmental about your work? Also, how do you start your novels? I always get confused and bored with my writing :/

VR Answered: I still have times when I hate what I wrote, both the things I’m working on now and the ones I wrote in the past. That includes Divergent— even more with Divergent, I think, because I see a wide range of reactions everywhere I look, and the negative reactions hit me harder than the positive ones. But sometimes the negative reactions teach me things, which is good.

I’m getting better at picking myself up when the self doubt kicks in, though. Sometimes what helps is a non-editorial reread— I remember after Divergent came out and I was in a bad mood about it, I just sat there and listened to the audiobook, and I found that I was able to let go of all the other voices and just love Tris’s story again. Sometimes, what helps is to remind yourself that if you chose to write something, it’s because there is something valuable in it to you, and if you see that value, someone else will, too. (Even if it’s not the people you WANT to see it.)

But mostly, I try to be kind to myself, and my writing. I sit down and think, I am going to do the best I can, and then I will do the best I can to fix it, and that will be good enough for me. It’s just like sophomore year math class, for me— I got a pretty bad grade, and my mom said, “well, did you do your best?” and I said, “yeah! I worked so hard.” And she said something like, “that’s all you can do, then! Don’t agonize over it.” (God I love my mom.)

As far as starting the novels goes, I think it’s important to get in a free, experimental mindset. I just write something that interests me and if it doesn’t work later, I get rid of it. And then I write something else that interests me. And something else. Until there’s a story and I’m swept up in it. I am very strict with myself about not thinking about the work as a whole, how I’ll need to fix it, what the big problems with it are, as I go. I just write the next thing.

If you get bored, it might be because you’re assessing yourself too much, and it takes a lot of willpower to stop doing that. You have to just…decide not to, which sounds easy, but it really isn’t. If you get bored, remember what you loved about the story enough to start writing it, whether it’s a character or a scene or a concept, and try to reconnect with that thing again.

I hope some of that helps. Good luck!

To check out these, and the others from previous days, visit her tumblr here.


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