Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dark Days Tour Schedule, Part 1

The tour I'm going on this year is in two parts. The first part is next week, and the second part is in July. Here are the deets:

Wednesday, June 6th: BEA in New York City, New York
Signing from 1pm-2pm at the HarperCollins booth.

Thursday, June 7th: Columbus, Ohio
6:30pm at Cover to Cover Bookstore

Friday, June 8th: Evanston, Illinois
4:00pm at the Evanston Public Library, hosted by The Book Stall

Saturday, June 9th: Chicago, Illinois
1:00pm at the MASH Stage at Printers Row Lit Fest
*will be signing afterward in the autographing area

I don't have details for next month yet, but right now it looks like we'll be in Saint Louis, MO, Huntington Bach, CA, Salt Lake City, UT, and then I'll be at Ascendio in Orlando, FL.

On the first leg will be me, Bethany Griffin, Elizabeth Norris, and Aprilynne Pike. We look forward to meeting you and signing your books!

And now, to buy pens.


Official Writer Philosophy of Character Death

(Note: this post will be packed full of Divergent and Insurgent and surprisingly, Harry Potter, spoilers, so don't read it if you don't want to be spoiled!)

(Also, there is no reason to infer anything about book 3 from this post. Just responding to a bunch of questions that have popped up in my tumblr ask box recently. To quote Conan O'Brien: keep cool, my babies.)

Many people ask me variations of this question:why did soandso have to die? A couple times I've also been asked: Why don't you just kill minor characters or ones we're not attached to?

Let me address that last one right away: I think it's a good thing that the characters I "kill" are ones we're all attached to, so that those deaths are not gratuitous. Why? Because I don't want the books to be like Grand Theft Auto, where people get killed all the time but no one really cares or thinks about it. (That game can be fun, by the way, but it just wouldn't make a thoughtful book!) Even though I write violent books, I don't want to make people desensitized to violence, ever. That means that when someone dies, I want to feel it, and I want you to, too.

(Whether I have succeeded in that goal, by the way, is up for the readers to decide. But I'm just talking about what I try to do, not what I do perfectly!)

But my real philosophy of character death in the Divergent series is that the world Tris lives in is supposed to be messed up. And there's a war going on. And from all I've ever learned about war, if you're involved in one, people you care about will be killed, and it won't make any sense to you, and it won't be fair, and it will be at all the wrong times, and some people will lose more than other people, and that's just how it is.

It would be far too convenient for Tris to retain all her friends and family while all these other people are losing theirs. Especially since Tris's friends and family choose to directly involve themselves, perhaps more than others, in violent and difficult situations. I try to be just as unfair as the world is; I take away characters when I have to, and I don't really think about whether it's balanced. Tris loses both parents; Tobias and Christina lose neither. Tris gets to keep her boyfriend; Christina's is taken from her. It's not fair either way, and that feels honest to me.

I think I learned this lesson from Harry Potter. Would we would really, truly have believed that Voldemort was a heinous villain if no one Harry loved had died? Would we have believed that his world was being pitched into darkness? Would his sacrifice, in book 7, have felt truly necessary to us? I really don't think so. I was very attached to the characters that died. I remember crying like a baby in my bathroom before school when I read book six. (Big mistake, reading the end of that one before school. Seriously.) But their deaths made Harry's world, and the state it was in, so much more real to me; they made his search for the horcruxes and his defeat of Voldemort feel so much more urgent. Those books wouldn't have been the same without Rowling's willingness to make sacrifices. That, more than anything, made me decide that if I was going to be an author, I had to be willing to make sacrifices too.

As for why certain characters over others, well, I don't know. I think people-- even writers themselves!-- sometimes have the impression that the authors of stories are completely in control of those stories and the characters that inhabit them. That really isn't true for me, though. I know it sounds crazy, but I create the characters and they become real to me and then they do whatever the heck they want. (Especially Peter. Whoa.) And when characters die, it's usually because I hit a point in the story where I don't feel any danger anymore, because no one Tris cares about is in peril, and then someone goes. BAM. Who that is depends on the moment in the story. It's often a shock to me.

In any case, what I'm saying is: I don't have that much control, and I try to follow each character's nature. (IE: the Abnegation will be more likely to die because they have that impulse to throw themselves in front of others. The Dauntless are more likely to die because of unnecessary heroics and recklessness. Etc.) I also try to be real with myself about what kind of world Tris lives in. She is not immune to its corruption or its violence. (And frankly, I think it already requires some suspension of disbelief that she didn't die in Insurgent.) All that I can do is try to have her react to her losses as realistically as possible, which often means that she's unlikable, as grieving and guilt-ridden people sometimes are.

So, that is my Official Writer Philosophy of Character Death.

In other news, will I ever be able to write a blog post without referring to Harry Potter? I'm not sure.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Divergent Pronunciations

I also posted this on my tumblr, but I thought I'd put it here too, to cover all the bases. I’m only going to list the ones people have asked about— hopefully I didn’t miss any!

 Tris: TRIH-ss (As opposed to “treece” or “tryce,” both of which I’ve heard.)
Tobias: Tuh-BYE-us
Uriah: Yer-EYE-uh
Jeanine: Juh-NEEN

Divergent: Die-ver-jen-t
Abnegation: Ab-neg-ay-shun
Amity: Am-it-ee
Candor: Can-der
Dauntless: Dawn-t-less
And the big one:
Erudite: Air-yoo-dyte

There you have it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Detergent, AKA Book 3

note: just to clarify, "detergent" is in fact a joke title. There's been some confusion.

Now that many of you are finished with Insurgent, I am often asked when book 3 will be coming out. We still don't have an official month and day, but I do have more information-- book 3 is scheduled to release next fall, Fall 2013.

I know that's over a year away, and that seems like forever. The reason it's so distant is pretty simple: I need more time to write and edit and polish it, so that when you get it, it's the best book 3 I could possibly make it. The last thing I want is to feel like the last book in the trilogy needed just a little more time, and I'm sure you feel the same way, even if internally you are saying "OMG WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US, CRUEL AUTHOR?!"

Rest assured, internally I am saying "OMG why can't I stop time temporarily so that I can work while nothing changes around me?! And while I'm bemoaning the lack of impossible things in my life, why can't I teleport to Iceland and/or take some magical potion that keeps me from needing to sleep?!" Alas, I have neither time stopping devices nor sleep eliminating potions, and I just have to put my head down and work.

In the meantime, I will try to devise ways to make the wait seem shorter for you. Even if it involves more bathtubs full of mini marshmallows!


P.S. No, I still don't have a title to share with you guys. In my mind it is still Detergent.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

#1s. (WHAT?!)

When you are secretly Abnegation (which I am beginning to figure out that I am), it can be difficult to publicly celebrate when good things happen because you're like "OMG, am I talking about this too much? Am I making other people uncomfortable? Do they think I'm a pompous jackass?" etc. For this reason I usually choose to celebrate privately, via happy dance in my apartment or delicious dessert or something. But this is a public event, made possible by readers and booksellers and librarians and teachers and family and friends, plus my agent and the fabulous people at HarperCollins, so I think it really requires public celebration.

This week, INSURGENT hit the New York Times bestseller list at #1!

And at the same time, but on a different list (the paperback list), DIVERGENT held strong at #1!

Okay, that doesn't make as much sense, but I LOVE IT ANYWAY. (link)
In case I don't say it enough (and how could I, really?): THANK YOU to everyone who worked on the book, and to everyone who read it (or is reading it) or told someone about it or possibly foisted it upon friends against their will. You are fantastic.

And now to put on gray and put my hair up. (Or not.)


Author out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

FYI: E-Mail

Okay, so, I used to have an e-mail address that I shared publicly, but that was back when it was just me and my blog that barely anyone read and my book that was not on shelves yet, etc. I loved those times-- I love these times, too, though for different reasons, but one of the reasons I loved the old times was that my e-mail load was pretty manageable and I could respond to each one without it adding too much stress to my life.

However, it's gotten to the point now, my lovelies, where if I answered every e-mail, that might actually become my full time job and then book three would never get written. This is not because I am just OMG so incredibly popular, it's because I am an inefficient e-mailer and it takes me longer than it should to answer each one. I've tried to work on this, but it's not really improving, so, you know, something has to give, and that thing is my e-mail.

If you have sent an e-mail already and are waiting for some kind of response, you will get one, but it may take awhile. If you send an e-mail now, you will get my autoresponder pointing you toward my twitter page, my tumblr, or my blog. This is because I do actually want to stay in touch with my readers! I'm just having to limit the platforms on which I do that, that's all.

Again: don't be afraid to reach out, but maybe do it here, or go to the CONTACT page for links to other social media things.

If you have a publicity-related request, please send it to my agent (whose info is on the CONTACT page of this blog), and she will respond if your request is being considered.

Thanks, everyone!


Dark Days Tour, Part 1

Owly Images

Note: I will not be at the Fairless Hills stop (sorry, Pennsylvanians!). But (as far as I know), Aprilynne, Bethany, and Elizabeth will be. And I will be at all the others.

Yay Evanston! I'm excited.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Belatedly, Five Factions, Five Days: Erudite, Candor, and Abnegation

I know that some of the blogger faction contest participants were disappointed that I didn't post these pictures when I was supposed to. I wasn't really thinking of the contest part of things when I was doing these pictures-- I was just trying to direct my blog readers to the facebook page so they could see all the cool things happening there and participate in celebrating each faction. If I had known how important it was to some of you, I would definitely have posted on time. I love and support book bloggers and what they do and I'm sorry that happened.

On that note, thank you to everyone who participated in Insurgent promotion this year. You stunned me with your enthusiasm and tipped the balance in my mind between terrified and excited back over to excited.

On to the outfits!


Erudite faction norms dictate that a faction member must wear at least one blue article of clothing at a time, because blue causes the body to release calming chemicals, and "a calm mind is a clear mind." The color has also come to signify their faction. (348)

I own exactly one blue shirt and two pairs of blue jeans. I also wear glasses, which is something the Erudite are known for.

And this is me shushing you, because I am trying to read The Brothers Karamazov and you are TALKING IN THE LIBRARY:


The Candor man wears a black suit with a white tie-- Candor standard uniform. Their faction values honesty and sees the truth as black and white, so that is what they wear. (Page 3)

I decided the Chucks needed to make another cameo, since they are actually black and white. That said, I do view Candor fashion as slightly more formal than the Chucks indicate, so consider this a slightly looser interpretation...

I said, "Get one of me talking! Like a Candor smart mouth!" And this is what happened:

Hot. (Not.)


The gray clothes, the plain hairstyle, and the unassuming demeanor of my faction are supposed to make it easier for me to forget myself, and easier for everyone else to forget me too. (Page 6)

Have I mentioned that Abnegation is my favorite faction? I just love the way their virtue saturates every little thing they do. In my mind I can see how they walk, how they stand, their expressions, and the peace that permeates every aspect of their lives, despite the fact that they aren't Amity.

As far as clothes go, they wear gray, and preferably loose clothing, so as not to draw attention to the body. I just happen to have a floor-length gray skirt. (Yes, floor-length even for me, the giant!) And I figured that an Abnegation member wouldn't look at the camera-- pictures are self-indulgent, after all.

The grays together:

I want to thank my photographer/husband for taking all these photos-- he not only took them, but he also made sure my poses were just right, and then edited them with his excellent photoshop skills. And that last one is especially gorgeous in terms of composition.

And with that, I  declare Insurgent release week...over! I hope you guys enjoy the book!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Errors: Why They Happen, How to Better Avoid Them

Several people have pointed out to me, with the best of intentions, that there are a few copyediting/consistency errors in Insurgent. I'm not going to tell you what they are, because some people won't catch them and I don't want to spoil the read for them. Just know that if you read something and get confused and think you might be misreading or misinterpreting, it might not be your mistake, but rather mine.

I just wanted to talk about why these errors happen. I used to read books and think "with so many rounds of edits, how can these mistakes slip by?" And that is a fair question. I have a very talented copyeditor and proofreader who catch so many errors it's not even funny. I am also a perfectionist and am generally diligent about checking details. So how did this happen?

What happened with book two was that I wrote a few drafts back to back, and then did several rounds of editing back to back. It's my job, as the author, to make sure that the drafts don't bleed into each other. For example, if a character is a boy in draft 1 but a girl in draft 2, it's my responsibility to make sure that all the "he"s turn into "she"s, etc. I tried very hard to catch all these draft overlaps, but because this all happened in a short time frame, I'm afraid the drafts got a little confused in my mind in my efforts to get everything done on time so it could get to you, the readers, on time.

The thing about writing is that most people need space and time away from their work to see it clearly again. Any writer will tell you that if you stare at your own book long enough, you'll stop seeing the problems that are in it, and that's why you need critique partners and editors to "show" you your own book again. That's why we talk about needing a fresh pair of eyes. But when you're trying to finish a book, sometimes your fresh pairs of eyes read it as frequently as you do, or they're looking for different problems than you are, and that's where the mistakes slip in.

This has been a huge learning experience for me as an author, because I didn't realize until it was too late that these mistakes were there, and I never thought to do a read-through strictly for draft inconsistencies or book 1-to-book 2 inconsistencies. Now I definitely will, for every single book!

Pieces of advice for other writers working with multiple drafts, or with a series:

1. Make sure you read your first book right before you edit your second. One of my errors popped up because I forgot a small detail in book one. If I had read Divergent again right before editing book two, it wouldn't have happened.

2. Do a read-through specifically for draft overlap errors. Do not try to look for or fix anything else. And if you don't think you're far enough away from the manuscript, ask someone else to read through specifically for confusing or inconsistent details.

3. If you find an error after it's too late, don't beat yourself up about it. Mistakes happen and most readers are very forgiving. Just tell someone at the publisher (if you're a published author), or fix it before you send it out again (if you're not published yet).

And for readers: thank you for letting me know that you notice things, I'm glad you are careful readers. I'm sorry for the slip-ups that have affected your reading experience, and I hope you can read on without being distracted by the problems you've discovered. Rest assured that I know about them already and will try to have them fixed in future printings.

Read on, smartypants!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Joseph-Beth Event

Really quick:

Joseph-Beth event TONIGHT at 7PM.

Reading + Discussion + Signing.

See you there? Hope so!



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