Heute wollte ich euch einfach mal an 2 Autoren näher heranbringen. An alle, die noch nie von den beiden gehört haben:
WO WARD IHR DIE LETZTEN JAHRE?!
Leider sind die Interviews nicht von mir, aber ich werde mich mal nach ein paar unbekannteren Autoren umschauen und mich um ein Interview via E-Mail oder Skype bemühen! 🙂
Kurze Info vorab: Achtung es gibt einen kurzen, aber großen Spoiler im Interview, auf den hingewiesen wird!
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.
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.
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.
Ich finde Veronica ist eine total symphatische junge Frau! Und ich liebe ihre Frisur! :-D
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Jennifer ist meine absolute Lieblingsautorin!! Aber wer meinen Blog liest und das jetzt noch nicht weis, dem kann ich auch nicht helfen. :-)
Ich hoffe, ihr seid mir jetzt nicht böse, dass es nur „kopiert“ ist! Ich habe zwar irgendwo einen Zettel mit Ideen für den Samstag, aber der ist untergetaucht! 😦
Naja wir sehen uns dann Dienstag. Noch ein schönes Wochenende und bis dahin! 🙂