‘Divergent’ Author Veronica Roth on the Importance of Sixteen

Divergent (Summit Entertainment)

Even though Veronica Roth has achieved success as a writer at an early stage, she understands that having a controlling hold over one’s work, especially with a novel as prodigious as Divergent, is really not in the cards. So instead of getting neurotic and overly possessive of one’s material, why not shepherd the process through the right channels?

“From the second the book hits the shelves, it stops belonging to the person who wrote it and it starts belonging to the people who read it,” said Roth, who’s very happy with the film’s outcome. “So I was pretty well practiced in letting it go a little bit which I think is a good thing. There’s no way that they can be exact replicas of each other. They’re different mediums and they should communicate in different ways. My anxieties were very much assuaged by the people I chose to hand it over to.”

The narrative, set in a dystopian Chicago, centers on 16-year-old Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) who, along with her fellow teenagers, must choose which faction she will belong to for the rest of her life. To keep the peace in society, individuals must place their own factions (they are broken down into Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite) above their families. When one tests for being a “divergent,” meaning a person who can easily blend into all of these categories, they are immediately deemed a threat to the current, law-abiding environment.

In the clip below, Veronica Roth talked about why she chose sixteen as the required age to choose one’s faction in Divergent:

Even if the film is a huge success, don’t expect Roth to turn into a screenwriter anytime soon. “Writing is what I love to do,” she adds. “I don’t make movies. It’s been wonderful to be a part of this, but at my core I”m just somebody who wants to write novels.”

Starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, Divergent is now playing nationwide.

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