This last Wednesday, I went to something that I was very excited about. At a local bookstore, on her #four tour, Veronica Roth spoke about various things including, but not limited to, how to create a dystopian world, genetics, character she loves and writer’s anxiety. With her witty comments, personable nature and fun topics, Veronica managed to capture the entire audience, all 500 of us! Along with getting to listen and ask questions of her, attendees received two signed books: Four by Veronica Roth and Starglass by Phoebe North. I am so excited to read these and I cannot wait to do a review of them.
For those of you who do not know Veronica Roth, she wrote the now ever popular Divergent series. A dystopian trilogy about a young girl named Tris and the choices she must make that will determine the future of the entire society. The first one in the series was recently made into a movie with Shaliene Woodley and it was a pretty good adaptation to film in my perspective!
Back to the author talk with Veronica, she brought up some important aspects of writing as a woman, writing with anxiety and creating a dystopian world in novels. We find today that many of the moral inflictions that once existed, have changed. If you take a lead male character, do you usually find them to be labelled as strong? Whereas Veronica points out that a lead woman character (much like Tris) is labelled as strong and courageous. Now, this isn’t to say that every male or female character is or is not labelled this way, it just seems to be a common concept.
Phoebe and Veronica (both YA Dystopian writers!) spoke of building the world of the novels and how many factors come into play. These factors include (but again, are not limited to) genetic diversity, population control, and messages including within this. I find this might be my weakness when it comes to writing this type of fiction is knowing exactly how to make up a world that is my own but makes sense and goes along with some sci-fy tropes. Then again, Veronica and Phoebe did say that it is okay to not have a plan and for both of them each planning session while writing is different. I have not found my own system yet, but I am young and will hopefully find it soon! You never know when your big break is around the corner.
Overall, I loved the discussion and how Veronica spoke of writers with anxiety and how anxiety is viewed as a “mental illness” and the stipulation that comes along with that term. Much like myself, she said to be a fellow anxiety sufferer and I know that this inspired me in so many ways, to be able to identify myself with someone I look up to. It is quite an amazing feeling. One of the great things I identified with Phoebe was the fact that we both started our careers with blogs. I can’t imagine my life when I am 30 (like Phoebe) but I hope it is even half as successful as she is!
My final thoughts overall from the talk was one quote that stood out, which I wrote large in my notes. Veronica and Phoebe were answering questions about character development. Veronica was talking about Tobias and the ups and downs he has within the trilogy, when she said that there “is something great about writing a character who flourishes in adversity.” This struck a chord with me and I would love to know your thoughts on this! Please comment below letting my know your thoughts on writing, divergent or anything else you’d love to read!