Thursday, 30 June 2011

Veronica Roth: Divergent Was Originally from Four's POV


Veronica reveals some Divergent secrets while on the Dark Days of Supernatural book tour!

"One of my DIVERGENT secrets (which is . . . not so secret anymore, really) is that when I first wrote it, it was from a male point of view. Actually, it was from the point of view of Four, Tris’s instructor in the current version.

I wrote about thirty pages from his perspective, five years ago, during my freshman year of college. The faction system was essentially the same, but with four factions instead of five—Candor didn’t exist yet—and with a less clear system binding them together. I got stuck at the thirty-page mark and filed the story away with the rest of my unfinished snippets.
Four years later, when I was searching for my next project, I opened the document—called “Self-Sacrifice” then, because I couldn’t think of anything else—and thought, “this is worth salvaging.” One of the first changes I made was changing the voice from Four’s to the sharp, direct, and often repetitive voice of a girl named Beatrice.

The reason for the gender switch is that I think it’s more interesting this way. Our generalizations about gender make it easy for us to understand a sixteen-year-old boy leaving a stifling society for a thrilling-but-dangerous one. But a quiet, skinny, small girl, abandoning safety to jump off roofs and fire guns? That was the story I wanted to tell.

When I get “writer’s block,” it’s usually because there’s something not quite right about what I’ve just written—the wrong events or the wrong characters involved, or even the wrong mood. So after I found the right character and the right voice, I didn’t get stuck again.

But those first thirty pages weren’t wasted, because when I decided to introduce my old narrator, Four, to the current story as a major character, I knew his whole story, from his upbringing to his faction choice to what happened after. If Four seems like a character who has a life apart from Tris, then it’s because to me, he always has. So, writers: Keep your failed drafts! YOU NEVER KNOW."

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