I recently read Divergent, so I could have a conversation starter with one of my students. She tracked me down after the three day weekend to ask about my opinion of the reading.
Honestly, I enjoyed it. I think Veronica Roth is a very solid storyteller. She does something that I want my students to learn. She uses simplicity.
The story is super basic. There are no bells and whistles. Because almost everyone knows what this story is about, I’ll try to summarize in a short, sweet, and unique way.
Divergent is an alternate universe to “The Giver.” Society is separated by classes, predetermining “choice” for its citizens. However, Divergent takes a more dynamic approach, which is what most readers want in today’s society. Action.
The story is super textbook, which is what I try to avoid. From the reading, I can tell that Roth can write something amazing, but publishers have a way of making things more movie ready. When reading, the only thing I missed was character relationships. I felt that the main character, Tris, was somewhat bland. Support characters like Christina and Will were glossed over. Tris’ love interest, Four, was a much more dynamic character, everything I wish I could have seen in Tris. But I digress.
I just wish that the story helped bring out the personalities of each of those characters. The book was too much like a movie.
Still, reading that novel really helped me outline my plot. Because of Divergent, I noticed that my next novel, Sol of Ruby, had no flow.
Roth generated this beautiful flow for her story that really helps all aspects of the plot line intertwine. However, I jump between ideas, which makes the read feel more like a manga instead of a novel.
After reading the story, I decided to sit down and reevaluate my plot. I simplified the details and left myself with seven key elements to the story. I can’t show you the outline because it would spoil the World Above The Shadows series, but I can summarize the outline with three main ideas.
- Journey to Motherland – The antagonist avoids returning home to rescue his sister because of his attachment to his present location.
- The scheme – the antagonist plots revenge and wastes the antagonist’s time in order to orchestrate a plot.
- The truth is unveiled – The protagonist’s plans unravel and he is forced to choose between saving one person or two worlds.
Each day, I reflect on my reading of Divergent and I discover a new way to adjust my plot. I love when my students teach me something. Directly or indirectly.