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The most comprehensive source for everything DIVERGENT.

Veronica Roth Does Another Round Of Q&A

Veronica Roth did another round of Q&A on her tumblr.

Here are the questions she answered:

ridethesubway asked: I think many of us have heard you mention “The Manuscript” before, but there’s never much of any details that you share with us, like its characters, plot, or personal backstory. How come?


VR answered: It’s mostly because I no longer think it’s a unique or interesting story. It was good for me at the time, but now I have happily put it aside and have no desire to revisit it.


I also have a policy where I don’t discuss stories that aren’t going to be published yet/ever, even with family or friends (most of the time), out of concern that others will get more attached to the story than I am. Sometimes other people’s enthusiasm creates a kind of pressure that might make me work on something I don’t love, which is a bad thing.

shadesofaugust asked: Do you have a least favourite faction? Also, do you have a dream cast? Actors and actresses that match how you imagine the characters?


VR answered: You know, I don’t have a least favorite faction. I think there are great things about all of them, and really awful things about all of them. I both wouldn’t want to join any of them, and want to join all of them, if that makes sense. That said, I would probably NOT fit in Amity. It’s fine for a vacation, but I would go crazy eventually.


And no, I don’t really have a dream cast. Some people have made great suggestions, so I mostly just like finding out what the readers think. It’s a lot of fun.

purplepens asked: How much planning do you typically do for a story? I can never seem to sit down and force myself to plan it out, but something gives me the idea that’s the reason I have trouble finishing anything.


VR answered: I start off without planning anything— I just write and write and write until the project gets so big I can’t handle it anymore. That’s usually around page 100 or 150. Then I make a list of all the ideas for scenes that I have left, and write them out, and basically, I end up with a huge mess. I hate first drafts. I love revising. So revising is when I do outlines, and map out character arcs, and think about pacing, and all that analytical stuff.


For you, though, it could all work differently. If you can’t finish anything, try to get strict with yourself and make an outline. If you find that that helps, go with it. Or just write a big list of ideas. Or write by the seat of your pants. You have to try a bunch of things before you figure out what works for you, and there’s no “right” way to go about it.

yousra-bushehri asked: Hi Veronica, I have a question about publishing. How did you get from writing the book and publishing it? Was there a person you knew who knew someone, and who helped you get your book published? or a professor? Or a friend? Or did you get it published all on your own, and if yes, how? Aside from all that, I think your book is wonderful and amazing. And I totally look up to you as the person I want to be. I’m 21 and I want to be a writer just like you!! Thank you so much for sharing Divergent!!!

VR answered: My publishing story goes like this: before I started Divergent, I finished another manuscript that I’ll refer to as TM (“The Manuscript”). It was also young adult. I decided to go to a writer’s conference to get some help with the publishing process (Midwest Writers Workshop in Indiana), and I signed up for a pitch session with one of the agents who would be there. Her name was Joanna Stampfel-Volpe.

I pitched TM to her, and she requested the first 50 pages, so when I got home, I sent them to her, after making sure they were as polished as I could make them. Meanwhile, I queried a bunch of other agents. As a side note, I learned how to write queries and researched agents by using that magical tool known as Google. It’s how I found Absolute Write, QueryTracker, and the Guide to Literary Agents blog, and all those sites helped me figure things out.

After a bunch of TM rejections, and working with JSV on the first 50 pages, I realized that even if TM got me an agent and a book deal, it wasn’t what I wanted to come out of the gate with as an author. So after I got JSV’s very kind rejection, I put TM away and started a new project. That project was Divergent.

When I was finished, JSV was the first person I queried, because I had liked her so much at the conference and she was great to work with on TM, even though she didn’t sign me for it. I queried a small batch of agents this time, and there were more rejections, etc., but JSV offered and after reading over her revision notes for the book, I accepted.

Then I did revisions for her, we went on submission to editors, and soon after that, Harper made an offer and I got my publisher. I wouldn’t say I went through the process on my own— there were a lot of Internet People and critique partners who helped me through it. But ultimately, “connections” are far less important than writing a solid book at the right time for it and putting it in front of good people who believe in it. You need skill and polish, but you also need some luck/good fortune thrown in there— lots of awesome books go unnoticed.

Glad you liked Divergent, and good luck with your writing! Keep at it!

Check out Veronica Roth’s tumblr for these questions and more.


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