Interview with Veronica Roth

Posted by Goodreads on July 15, 2014
In just a few short months she went from being Veronica Roth, a senior at Northwestern University who spent ten hours a day working on a book about a dystopian world, to Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, the bestseller that won the Favorite Book of 2011 Goodreads Choice Award. The roller coaster ride for this YA writer, now 25, has only gotten more intense with the massively successful follow-up, Insurgent, and the divisive conclusion to the trilogy, Allegiant—not to mention the release of a Hollywood feature starring go-to YA heroine Shailene Woodley as the heroine, Tris. It's not over yet! This month we get a spin-off told from the perspective of Tris's romantic interest, Tobias, aka Four. You asked Veronica about getting into Four's head, her tips for aspiring writers, and how she feels about the fan response to the ending of Allegiant.

Read on for her fascinating answers—and caution, spoilers ahead!

Readers are so excited about Four! After all, who's not a little in love with Tobias? Gregory wonders, "Did you already know what Tobias's story was when you wrote Divergent? Or did you have to imagine everything from the beginning to write Four?" Jodi Armendariz adds, "I would love to have a glimpse of what we can expect to experience with Tobias [in the new book]!"

Tobias's story solidified for me while I was writing the series, so I knew the rough outline of the stories before I started (you know it, too—he leaves Abnegation, joins Dauntless, refuses to go down the leadership track, becomes an initiation instructor, meets Tris, etc.). The details took some imagination. The exciting part was working through his decisions as he makes them because they sound so easy in the trilogy, when he talks about them, but they came to him with difficulty (refusing a leadership position, for instance—not something he just decided on the spot). I think my favorite part to write was the "surprise! Evelyn is still alive!" scene; there are so many complicated emotions there, and I was never sure what she would say.

Nicolas: Do you use a different writing process when you're writing from the perspective of Four than when you're writing from Tris's perspective? Cho points out, "You said that Four/Tobias was the easiest for you to create and write about. You explained that you could always tell what he was doing and sort of were at ease with writing him. Is there any character you found very difficult to write about? One that was harder to decide his/her choices and determine his/her fate? One that didn't flow as easily into your story and you had to think loads about, one that you needed to reedit over and over?"

Well, Tobias as a character definitely came to me easily in the Divergent books, but writing his voice is still a big challenge—so showing that he approaches situations differently than Tris, or that he observes his surroundings differently, was easy, but actually making his voice sound different is not something I mastered. Definitely something to work on in my writing! But no, the process wasn't different, except that I had a few key phrases I would tell myself before I started. They are: "Tobias doesn't withhold from the reader" (meaning, he might keep secrets from other characters, but not from you, the reader), "He often expresses things more poetically," and "he's funnier than you think" ("you" meaning me, of course).

The difficult characters, for me, are the funny ones (Uriah, Christina, etc.). For some reason, though I am occasionally mildly amusing myself (I think?), I find it very difficult to write characters with really good senses of humor. They all come out a little humorless and sour at first, and I have to push myself out of that, and then they become a constant stream of jokes, and that's no good, either—it's hard to find a balance. I also had a hard time with Marcus. I tried to kill him at least five times throughout the course of the series, and the man refused to die. I also struggled to occupy his headspace in a realistic way, so he kept coming out a little too arch, like he was twisting his evil mustache and cackling all the time.

Thais: As a future psychology student (starting in January) and an aspiring author, I know that you had the idea for Divergent during a psychology class (or at least, that's what I read). How did studying the mind help you get a deeper understanding of your characters?

The psychology inspiration is true—my (brief) study of exposure therapy inspired the Dauntless fear simulations. I find that psychology gives me world and plot ideas more than character ideas, but one significant example is with Tris's grief in the second book (it leads her to risky, self-destructive decisions, it makes her incapable of holding a gun for a long time, etc.)—I've never lost anyone very close to me, so I talked to my mother, who lost her own mother in her early adulthood, and some of my friends who studied psychology (and now work in the field), about how Tris might realistically process all the loss she endured in Divergent. The way Tobias ends things with Marcus is another example—I never wanted his confrontations with Marcus to feel triumphant, because I had read up on the effects of abusive situations like his, and one thing I came away with is that trauma can't be overcome with a fistfight or a few zingers and a fist pump; it's overcome by processing what happened, with difficulty, and learning to move forward, which is what Tobias does at the end of Allegiant. This is all to say, studying the mind helps me when my characters are enduring things I have never endured, to find my way to an emotionally realistic portrayal.

Signing copies of Four!

SPOILER ALERT: The end of Allegiant left fans reeling. You've said, "I felt [Tris] had earned an ending that was as powerful as she was." Many readers still had questions. Katie says, "I had a really hard, emotional (!!) time with Tris's death. Was it hard for you to decide to write it into Allegiant or did you know all along that the series would end with her demise?" Elw also had an interesting question: "What made you feel that the loyalty to her family members and the love for her brother was more important to her than the love and loyalty to Four?"

To respond to Katie's question: It wasn't really an either/or situation; it was both an extremely difficult decision and a decision that I made very early on in the series (after finishing the rough draft of Divergent, in fact). Ultimately it was the ending that felt most true to Tris's character, and I was determined that she should end up exactly where she had chosen to go. The hard part was not actually letting her go there; it was writing about Tobias in the aftermath. But Tobias ended up in what feels to me like an equally powerful place—he finds strength in friendship and its considerable capacity to heal.

As for Elw's question, it wasn't about measuring Tris's love for Caleb against her love for Four at all. I'm not even sure that would make sense to her, trying to devise some kind of ranking system for the people she cares about. She has a strong sense of right and wrong that she communicates (quite forcefully) to Caleb earlier in the book—she tells him she would never deliver him to his execution, the way he did to her in Insurgent. So if anything, her decision is about the kind of person she wants to be, not the result of greater affection for one person over another. The Tris we know wouldn't let her last remaining family member—who is scared out of his mind—go to certain death when she has the power to spare him.

Crystal Wreckage made us giggle when she asked, "When you had everyone's favorite characters (Tori, Uriah, Tris, etc.) die in the books, did you feel sad? Or did you laugh and have tea with Satan?" And Jodi wants to know: "How do you deal with all the negative comments from fans over the way you ended your book?"

As a writer, you can't be afraid to let bad things happen to characters—that's how stories move forward, that's where character transformation and growth comes from, that's how you keep your word, in a sense (so if I tell you that dystopian Chicago is in fact dystopian—inherently flawed and dangerous—and then I don't let any real harm come to anyone in the story, I'm not really telling the truth, am I?). If anything, this is something I learned from Harry Potter—if there had been no loss, we would have had no impression of the depth and scope of Voldemort's evil, and Harry's fight would have been far less significant or important to us. His struggle derives much of its power from its utter necessity, and we feel that necessity because we cared about the people he lost. I have never once laughed at the loss of a character, not even the antagonists, though I have certainly cried, but ultimately I have to do what I think is best for the story.

As for the negative comments, I believe that negative feedback, like many challenges and struggles in life, is essential for growth. I respect it, I consider it carefully, I let it shape my development as a writer, and then I get back to work.

You broke our hearts, so Jemima wonders, "What character in any book/film has broken your heart the most?"

What breaks my heart the most is not losing a character but seeing them alive and irreparably damaged in some significant way—it's not a book I'm terribly passionate about, but the end of Ethan Frome is a good example of this. It would have been much better if the two lovers had died rather than survived to be so miserable and full of resentment toward each other, because the warping of what makes the character beloved is far more difficult for me to endure than losing them altogether. Some more recent examples are Peeta, in Mockingjay, after he's rescued from the Capitol, or that thing that I won't spoil that happens to a beloved character at the end of Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, or—and this one was really hard for me emotionally—the ending of the show Twin Peaks, because Agent Cooper is one of the characters I love the most in all of television. I'm still not over it.

Veronica on the set of Divergent
So many of your fans are also working on books, like Mark_The_Nation, who asks, "I am a writer, but I have a huge problem. I always get these huge and great ideas for stories. I even spend weeks working out the plot and characters, but when it finally comes to writing it down, I draw a blank. It's not that I can't think of my ideas; it's that I write stuff down and then I read it out loud, and it just doesn't sound right. So I delete it and then start over again and again. So do you have any tips on how I can finally write and not doubt my work? Misha also has a writing question: "I was wondering (since I'm a young writer who struggles with this) how do you keep the characters true to themselves? Tris never seemed anything other than Tris, same with Four—did you do anything to keep the characters themselves or did they just come naturally?"

Mark_The_Nation asks a tough question, because there are so many pieces of advice to give, but there's no way of knowing which one will be the most helpful! The first one that comes to mind is: Stop going back and reading it out loud! Don't reread at all, if it's keeping you from writing. Just push forward through the idea until you reach the end, and then work to revise it—but you'll never know how to fix the idea if you are never able to execute it. (Also, do not delete anything! Take it out of the document, if you must, but save it somewhere. If I deleted things that weren't working at the time, there would never have been a Divergent in the first place. True story.) The less practical solution is to trust yourself—trust that if an idea sounds good to you, sounds interesting to you, tugs at your sleeve and tells you to write it, it can't possibly be a waste of time. Usually we like ideas, books, movies, television, what have you, because there's something at the heart of them that we find appealing, and those things, those deep "at the heart" things, are not wholly unique or insignificant. If they speak to you, that means they are worth speaking about.

Misha, first of all, thank you, I'm so glad to hear that you think Tris and Four are true to themselves throughout the series. I certainly tried to keep it that way. Honestly, for me, most character consistency happens in revision. I write the rough draft to kind of explore the characters and the world and to work out the general direction I want the story to go in. When I revise, I can start thinking about the core of each character—who they are, what they want, what their best and worst qualities are—and whether the decisions they're making or the words they're saying are true or not. And then I fix it. And then I fix it again and again and again&hellip: it certainly doesn't come naturally. It comes with 90 percent effort and 10 percent intuition, like most of writing (for me, anyway).

More writing questions! Adriana Lister asks, "I am a young aspiring author, and I have always wanted to ask someone this question: What is your writing routine/schedule like? Do you have a certain time that you write in the day for a couple of hours? Or all day?" And Lauren Herta wonders, "Do you keep a journal? If so, what do you write about in it? Also, what books influenced you as a kid?"

I have no routine or schedule or journal. Sometimes if I get an idea that I'm not sure I'll remember (like one that comes to me in my sleep or at an inconvenient time), I make a note of it on my phone or e-mail it to myself. Other than that I think I mull things over all day, every day, like a cow chewing its cud. (That word is gross. I'm sure you get my meaning.) And then suddenly I'll be done ruminating and ready to put it on the page. At that point I usually write for really long stretches of time until I run out of steam, and then I'm back to chewing again. I try to keep my "process" flexible and changing with my needs—whatever keeps me writing is what I'll do until it doesn't work anymore, and then I find something else, whether it's outlining or not outlining or listening to music or writing longhand or going back to reread or never going back at all until I'm done.

As for my childhood books, let's get Harry Potter out of the way—HARRY POTTER, definitely, but also The Giver by Lois Lowry, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, Dune by Frank Herbert, the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix, most things by Judy Blume, the Animorphs series, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (and the other books in that series, too!). I'll stop there.

Having your book made into a film must be amazing! Dara asks, "I know that sometimes authors play a little role in the movies filmed by their novel. Will you appear in any of the Divergent movies?" And McKenna Toggs wants to know: "What scene are you most excited about in the upcoming movie Insurgent?"

I actually have appeared in the Divergent movies already—I'm the Dauntless extra who bursts through the door at the top of the Hancock building before Tris ziplines. I'm not sure if I'll be an extra in Insurgent or not—we haven't quite figured it out yet—but it was a really cool, surreal, terrifying experience! In Insurgent I'm most excited to see the simulations Tris experiences in Erudite headquarters, particularly when she's not sure whether they're real or not and has to test it by doing something strange or impossible. I love that stuff.

Chloe *fathoming constellations* observes, "These… are likely as useless as the questions that Hazel asked Peter Van Houten in The Fault in Our Stars, but I think many people in the fandom, excuse me, your fandom, would like to know… what happens to Tobias and Christina after Allegiant ends?" According to Cityofvampires, there are "rumors going around. Did Tobias really fall in love with Christina a couple of years after Tris died?"

Oh, I could never claim ownership over an entire fandom—fandoms are alive and changing and wonderful, and I'm just lucky to have readers, period. Unfortunately I don't think I can really say what happens after Allegiant ends. I promise authors don't just say this kind of thing to annoy readers—it's just that the story ends where it does for a reason, and the door is left a little bit open because I'm not exactly sure where Tobias goes or how he gets there. I can say, because it might help, that there's a huge reason why I chose the last lines I did ("We can be mended. We mend each other.")—it's because Tobias is recovering, healing with the help of the people who care about him. There's plenty of hope there for him as a person, and for him opening up to someone again. As for rumors, well, I think there's a difference between a rumor and a theory, and it's definitely a reader's prerogative to have theories and criticisms and fanfics all he or she wants.

Bonus question!: Pallavi Bekal: What were you like when you were in high school?

It's hard to say—like anyone, I was a lot of things. I was a good student, I loved school, never missed curfew or got detention. My typical uniform was jeans, black T-shirt, ponytail. I did congressional debate, I was a second alto in the choir (not a very good one, though). I wasn't what you'd call "nice," because I was wary of everyone, but I didn't go out of my way to be mean, either. I wanted very much not to care about anything or to be a badass, but neither of those things was at all true.

Comments Showing 1-50 of 95 (95 new)

message 1: by Jacqueline (last edited Jul 18, 2014 05:35AM) (new)

Jacqueline Buan ...there aren't any words to convey how great it feels, knowing that spoiler if you haven't read Allegiant!! Tris's death had been planned since Divergent. Now I can stop asking myself "what could have been if this or that had been done differently" because Tris really was supposed to die.

message 2: by Judith (new)

Judith This interview is interestng,we can see that a book is actually really hard to write! It looks like a lot of work, and every character is worked, and Veronica Roth did everything to make him and his behaviour look alive and true. I think that's amazing!

message 3: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte I would still like to know why Veronica decided to make Tris choose weather she can send her brother to certain death or not. I usually get annoyed at the end of a book if it's a typical happily ever after but I would have like that to be the case at the end of Allegiant because so many bad things happen and so many people die it would have been nice to know the main characters despite the fall of all there friend's they still get to live on together happily.

message 4: by Diane (new)

Diane I'm happy for her, and I guess death is a compelling concept. I disagree that it was necessary, seemingly to simply be self indulgent. Not very practical emotionally, and follow-on movies will need to diverge from the plot to be practical commercially.

message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie Finlan Clancy Thank you for answering our questions, Ms. Roth! Am geeking out right now, because I am the "Katie" in the 4th set of questions who wrote in about Tris! Loved the interview - answering your fans questions really made it feel personal. Here's to great YA! :oD

message 6: by Azanta (new)

Azanta Loved it! Thanks Mrs. Roth, that was amazing!!! This honestly helped me feel so much better about the ending and the future of the books. Also, can't believe you were in the movies!

message 7: by Roberta (new)

Roberta I think her answer regarding Tris' death is a load of BS. It still ruined the entire series for me, and she does it to prove she is an "artiste".

message 8: by Natalie (new)

Natalie I didn't read Allegiant because I heard about the death at the end. I know everyone's different, but I don't like books that make me sad when I finish. I read to get out of the real world(that has enough suffering). Why would I add to my suffering by reading a downer book. I won't read anymore of her novels until I know the ending isn't crappy.

message 9: by John (new)

John Interesting comment about the deaths in the Harry Potter series. Indeed, major characters were killed there, but not Harry or his friends. Killing the star of a series is not a good idea for a young adult book (which is how this book is marketed). You lost a lot of fans, including all of the dozen readers in my family. You, as the author, decided that Tris would die and placed her in a situation where her death was the outcome. I see your point about her death being in her character, but as the author, you control the situations. I loved the first two books, but was totally soured on the third. It will be interesting to see if they kill her off in the movies. Expect more howls if they do; but it should play well in Europe.

message 10: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Rugambwa love this interview. great to know my favorite authors better!

message 11: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Rugambwa love this interview. great to know my favorite authors better!

message 12: by Noura (last edited Jul 21, 2014 05:07PM) (new)

Noura I didn't complete the series because I heard about Tris's death. I loved "Divergent" so much I couldn't believe that was the end of the series, It's called fiction people, if Tris was alive in the end no one will blame "Veronica" for that we'll even be happy. Now I'm just a frustrated reader :(

message 13: by Albishka (new)

Albishka I didn't complete the series for the same reason. Though it was so great till she decided to kill Tris :(

message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy I didn't mind the death of Tris so much; it was that she seemed out of character at that moment. I would have asked Ms. Roth why she would have Tris enter that room without her weapon? Tris still could have lost end the end, but I refuse to believe that she would have entered the room without her gun.

message 15: by Darci (new)

Darci Thank you for the Q&A! For what it's worth, I really appreciated the ending. It was unexpected. It was depressing. But it also made the book stay with me, unlike a typical happy ending - easy to read, easy to forget. I actually spent some time mulling this one over after gobbling it up. Ultimately what I decided is that I was glad it ended the way it did - it seemed true to me. This is a violent, dark world Ms. Roth created. She remained true to the world and characters she imagined. Happily ever after might have felt better, but cheapened the stakes. Thanks for an interesting series and entertaining read.

message 16: by Stacy (new)

Stacy I don't think my mind is capable of being changed on the subject, and as I have shared with numerous friends, I will not read any more books written by Veronica Roth, sorry.

message 17: by Lisa (last edited Jul 21, 2014 07:50PM) (new)

Lisa Sibits Thank you for all of your thoughts- it doesn't seem that we can get enough! What are your thoughts of if Tris had taken Caleb's place, gotten injured (entered into a coma but met with her parents & Uriah- got the chance to make peace with them & their passing?) but still survived? Wouldn't she have stayed true to her character? (I am really pleading for a way for her to fulfill herself but live! And to get an alternate ending!! ;)

message 18: by David (new)

David Hagan I loved the trilogy until Tris died now I hate it

message 19: by Manju (new)

Manju For a person who reads books to escape from the worldly sufferings the end of The Alligent being so depressing is more depressing. i fact i am now rereading that book but just so scared to read the ending because i know how it ends and know i am going to end up mulling over the dead character. Tris had a rightful death. I feel that from the beginning we get glimpses of what is actually going to happen in the end. Her glimpses of character when thought thoroughly even before reading the Alliegiant narrate us the end of the series. I dont think there can be an alterntive end for this series but certainly wish there had been an alternative ending.....:(

message 20: by Samantha (new)

Samantha West If you read books just for the love dovey feel good plots and endings then you're not expanding your mind. I was just as upset at the death of Tris but this is the authors perogative. And to say that Miss Roth ruined the series because she killed off the heroine is just plain stupid. But everyone is entitled to their opinions. I for one enjoyed the series and first movie, excited about the following movies and more books from Miss Roth. Thank for the interview and insights.

message 21: by Karen (new)

Karen Bainbridge In a series of books that involve a number of deaths in them like Divergent Series people who disliked how Allegiant ended and now will not read Miss Roth's books. They should be rethinking their reasons for reading dystopian books, as there are bound to be deaths of favourite characters and that Tris's death came as a blow, to me too! I am going to continue reading her books because I enjoy reading them I also think that Veronica Roth's work will get better and better. Thank you for all the insightful information about the Divergent Series and good things are bound to keep happening for you.

message 22: by Makayla (new)

Makayla H Veronica, I don't even know how to put this...even though Tris dies I felt pleasantly overpowered by the emotional ending. Thank you for writing these books!!!

message 23: by Anke (last edited Jul 21, 2014 11:48PM) (new)

Anke Zweel I do have to say thanks to Vernoica.... I was addicted to the potter books and twilight and though I Loved hunger games it just didn't read the same, if I got tired I would put the book down and sleep.

With the divergent series (and Im currently on the last pages for insurgent) I just could not put the books down. I would be so sleepy then I say to myself just one more chapter.. My husband even said that I am fighting in my sleep and talking a lot (guessing in my dreams im dauntless). The last time I dreamed about a book was when I was reading new moon and kept turning into a wolf.

I haven't seen the movie yet but will when it is out on dvd.

I do know that the heroine dies in the end. but I still keep reading and I just love the characters in these books. Thank you for a peek into your mind.

well done veronica. I am a huge fan.

message 24: by Kate (new)

Kate Neale To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my all time favorite characters in one of my all time favorites series, but I feel that the ending fit the book. And I'm glad Veronica Roth stuck to her plan with the ending and wrote what she wanted to write. It's important that an author writes for them self and not the public. I'm a huge admirer of your work Ms Roth!

message 25: by Bloodrender (new)

Bloodrender Love the series, but feel as if Tris should have found a way to survive, as happens in Insurgent, where she doesn't give up on herself when the time comes. I am understanding though of why Ms Roth has decided to kill her off and Four's reaction is admirable. Thanks for the series, and I can't wait for the movies of Insurgent and Alleigent to be released

message 26: by Anke (new)

Anke Zweel Kate wrote: "To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my all time favorite characters in one of my all time favorites series, but I feel that the end..."

I agree with you totally....... it is very easy to decide not to kill the main character, but as she said she knew from the beginning tris will die and she stuck to her guns. at least we still have four

message 27: by Kate (new)

Kate Neale Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my all time favorite characters in one of my all time favorites series, but I feel that the end.....

I'm glad you agree, I feel I lot of people are concerned about the profits they'll make rather than the books themselves, and so change the storyline.

message 28: by Anke (new)

Anke Zweel Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my all time favorite characters in one of my all time favorites serie..."

I think that and the fact that they don't want to get bad criticism from their fans or that they will hate them and so they chance the story.....

I just laught the other day when I realised that Shailene Woodley keeps playing characters that dies in the end.

message 29: by Kate (new)

Kate Neale Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my all time favorite characters in one of my all time fa..."

You'll have to educate me on her other rolls, I've only seen her play Tris and Hazel from 'The Fault in our Stars'

message 30: by Hanz (new)

Hanz I liked the ending. Yes, it me cry. I haven't been so affected by a book since I read the first few chapters of 'The lovely bones'. That was intense and so is Allegiant. I also felt like the end fit the book.
You can't please everyone but you pleased me.
Well done for doing it your way. I respect that & thoroughly enjoyed the series.

message 31: by Anke (new)

Anke Zweel Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my all time favorite characters in one of m..."

Shailene haven't done that much movies yet, the only other movie I know of is Spectacular Now and you get the whole movie long a feeling she will die luckily she doesn't........ but I haven't read the book yet still have to

message 32: by Kate (new)

Kate Neale Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my all time favorite character..."

Don't think I've seen that movie, or read the book, is it any good??

message 33: by Anke (new)

Anke Zweel Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my all time favor..."

I liked the movie but I haven't read the books... it one of those teenage love stories its a lot like 10 things I hate about you.... I haven't read the book yet but its on my to read list

message 34: by Kate (new)

Kate Neale Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "Anke wrote: "Kate wrote: "To be honest, I'm fine with the ending. I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my a....."

I might just have to watch the movie and/or read the book then....

message 35: by Gail (last edited Jul 22, 2014 02:15AM) (new)

Gail Powell I am a publisher and would like to add to the comment about a book being perfect from the outset, hence why Mark_the_Nation keeps deleting and starting again. Perfectionism is a blocker when it comes to writing. My advice to Mark is to get the book written and then do your re-writes. Ask someone else to critique it for you once you have a full draft - preferably not friends and family, but a professional. We, as publishers, tend to get the opposite happen - many authors come to us having written one draft and think they have a best seller on their hands. Accepting feedback to change their content is often not welcomed, even though it is asked for, as the author does not want to accept their 'baby' needs changing in any way. Perhaps it is a combination of the sheer work involved, naivety, or a semblance of arrogance, but expecting a book to be perfect at first draft is very unrealistic. (This is no criticism of Mark, in fact the opposite, as I applaud his desire to get his book perfect). In order for a book to be the best book it can be, and ready for publication, a writer needs to dig deep and find the ability to accept constructive feedback. A successful author needs to make the changes necessary as an ongoing process - this is what makes a book worth publishing and gives a book every chance to stand out from the rest.

message 36: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Humphreys I thought the ending was great. There are too many 'fairytale' happy endings out there so I always find it refreshing when the unexpected happens. I'd be very disappointed if the film decided to keep her alive, although I wouldn't be surprised if they went with such a 'Hollywood happy ending'. Keep writing Veronica! :)

message 37: by Anke (new)

Anke Zweel Catherine wrote: "I thought the ending was great. There are too many 'fairytale' happy endings out there so I always find it refreshing when the unexpected happens. I'd be very disappointed if the film decided to ke..."

I agree with you.... I do hope that Hollywood will stay true to the book and let the Heroine die in the end.....

message 38: by Stefani (new)

Stefani Sanchez Jacqueline wrote: "...there aren't any words to convey how great it feels, knowing that spoiler if you haven't read Allegiant!! Tris's death had been planned since Divergent. Now I can stop asking myself "what coul..."

I think it was clear that Tris was ready to die since Divergent, I had just hoped that VR would have (could have) saved her from that fate. The more I read and reread the series, I can't not see it ending any other way (and her death had me reeling for months).

message 39: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Kinyua "I was shocked at first, and a little upset, as Tris is one of my" All is great and especially the ending.

message 40: by Martha (new)

Martha Curran I am an English teacher of 8th graders and have always read and loved YA lit. This year, I was reading student papers that analyzed author's craft, and one boy had written about Allegiant. The problem is, I had not yet read it, although I had read the first two books. Imagine my surprise when I read about Tris in the paper! I remember running into the cafeteria to find the student and "yell" at him! (Teasing, of course). It shows you how adults have been affected, too. I stayed away from reading Allegiant because of the ending but am ready now to dive in and see the resolution of Tris and Four.

message 41: by Reniel Don (new)

Reniel Don How would you rate the Divergent Movie?

message 42: by Anna (last edited Jul 22, 2014 05:19AM) (new)

Anna I have one quick question for Ms. Roth: I'm a young, self-published author with two books finished (one Middle Grade, one YA) and a third (YA) in the works, but I'd like to branch out into more traditional publishing. Could you give me any advice on where I should start? The world of publishing is so confusing!

I haven't yet got my hands on Divergent (the library is always running out of copies when I go in!!), but I'm super excited to read it! Millions of readers can't be wrong!

Thanks a lot, Ms. Roth,
Anna Grace

message 43: by Anke (new)

Anke Zweel Reniel Don wrote: "How would you rate the Divergent Movie?"

I haven't seen it but when I do I will give you the rating

message 44: by Laura (new)

Laura I think the fact that nearly every reader was devastated -- and angry, in different degrees -- at Tris' death is a testament to Ms Roth's skill as a writer. We all came to care about Tris deeply; I related to her so much that, even though I loved Tobias, I got annoyed with the "back-and-forth narration" in Allegiant because I was so used to hearing from just Tris. Now that it's been several months, I am no longer angry about Tris' death, and I can see how it makes the series more powerful. But I still think the series would have been better if, like the Harry Potter series, the main protagonist had survived :) However, I will definitely read more Veronica Roth books as they are published! (If The Casual Vacancy didn't put me off Rowling for good, a dead teenager won't put me off Roth....)

message 45: by Bloodrender (new)

Bloodrender Reniel; I have seen it, and it is one of the best films I've seen this year. Plot is fairly closely kept to, with the usual small variations found in adaptations. Exiting, intense and a thrill throughout. Would definitely recommend the film.

message 46: by kelsey (new)

kelsey Stacy wrote: "I don't think my mind is capable of being changed on the subject, and as I have shared with numerous friends, I will not read any more books written by Veronica Roth, sorry."

I Agree with that full heartedly! You go Stacy!

message 47: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Welkinawe I promise I am not trying to sound condicending, but I was really surprised to find out that Ms. Roth is only in her mid twenties. I thought that the series was very good. Very immersive and thought out. The characters were developed and believable. Three dementional. I was very saddened by the ending but understood it. This series stayed with me for a while too. I think I might have dreamed about it, even. The characters of Tris and Four were very honest, brave and real characters. As much as I liked The Hunger Games and even Twilight, the characters of Katness and Bella drove me crazy. So weak and selfish at times.
I can't wait to see what else Ms. Roth will bring us in the future. And I will be reading the Four book as well.

message 48: by Violet (new)

Violet Lefevre Although I've been so horribly heart broken by Tris' death, I feel like the story couldn't have ended any better. Veronica Roth has a very distinctive way of thinking and writing compared to other authors. Not everyone has the strength to kill many of their characters. As a writer myself I have a hard time even imagining the death of any of the characters I create. But unfortunately death is inevitable even to myself. One of the reasons why I love this story is because of all the courageous acts the characters do. This trilogy truly inspires me and whenever I feel like I just can't handle life anymore the only thought in my head that keeps me going is " be brave."

message 49: by Amy (last edited Jul 22, 2014 10:19AM) (new)

Amy Cole First, I have to send a HUGE THANK YOU to #VeronicaRoth. Prior to this series my 15 yr old daughter wasn't a reader. Now she consumes books non-stop.

As for the end of Allegiant, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I feel like Tris fought through the Death Serum so it could have still been dramatic and showed her character through this process so she could've lived. I also understood it and after everything she had been through, it was so touching when she heard her mom say, yeah now you can rest.

Plus, I respect the writer and her vision and feel like we would have lost a lot in the end if this was taken out. The truth is that life sometimes sucks and through showing Tobias moving on, we gained so much. He wanted to give up, but Cristina helped guide him and there are so many touching moments at the end through this process.

A loss is a loss and it's hard, but in the end, I feel you have to hold on to all the good moments you had and that's what you have to do with Tris. Because there were a lot of good moments throughout the books and her spirit will live on through the impression she left on those around her.

So, ya, I will read other books put out by this author.

message 50: by Bookaholic_charu (new)

Bookaholic_charu No matter what justifications Veronica Roth offers to the 'Death question" none of it is gonna buy me because the ending was extremely intense, jampacked with profoud misery and totally unfair.... No matter how brave and selfless Tris is, this was no way to kinda verify it in this manner. The vaccum it created in my life cannot be expressed in words at all. Even if she had to venture into this virulent foray, she could have DAMN SURVIVED... Where does the whole death point fits?? Enough of her bravery had already been proved... Sorry Veronica Roth but seriously nothing you say to justify this catastrophe is gonna quell my misery, agony and anger.

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