Monday, April 4, 2011

The First 100 Pages, and the DIVERGENT Dictionary

The first 100 pages of DIVERGENT are online!

You can read them HERE.

You know. If you want.

It occurred to me yesterday that now that summaries/reviews/snippets/ARCs are more readily available, and the release date is fast approaching, it might be a good idea to provide some necessary information. Such as: the faction names. What do they mean?

I have been asked in the past if I made the words up. I didn't, but I did intentionally choose unfamiliar words, for an assortment of reasons. One of them is that I wanted to slow down comprehension of what each faction stands for, so you learn as much by observing as by the name of the faction itself. Another is that the definitions of the more obscure words are more specific, in interesting ways. And a third is (since I'm being honest, here) that they sound cooler.

People have also asked me why the faction names are different parts of speech-- three nouns (Candor, Amity, Abnegation) and two adjectives (Dauntless, Erudite). (For the record, I love this kind of grammar consciousness.) I am aware of that, and it was something I thought about in revisions. The reason for the discrepancy is that each faction chose their own names independently, just as they wrote their own manifestos independently, and formed their own customs and rules independently (to a certain extent, anyway). Keeping that in mind, I tried to pick the words that made the most sense for each faction without considering the other factions too much.

And so, from Merriam Webster:

DAUNTLESS: fearless, undaunted.
Undaunted: courageously resolute, especially in the face of danger or difficulty; not discouraged.

It's those two definitions (fearless, and undaunted) that I found so fascinating. Being fearless and being undaunted are two different things. And the characters in DIVERGENT struggle with that distinction.

And from dictionary.com:

ABNEGATION: 1. to refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, etc.); reject; renounce.
2. to relinquish; give up

I like the verbs in that one: refuse, deny, reject, renounce--active forms of stripping things from your life. As opposed to relinquish, give up-- more passive.

ERUDITE: characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly

The word "erudite" focuses on knowledge rather than intelligence-- intelligence being something you're born with, and can't necessarily control, and knowledge being something that you acquire. I find that interesting, given what I know about Erudite.

CANDOR: 1. the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness.
2. freedom from bias; fairness; impartiality.

That definition definitely helped me flesh out Candor more, particularly in the second book. The faction is not just trying to develop honesty-- they're also trying to develop impartiality.

AMITY: 1. friendship; peaceful harmony.
2. mutual understanding and a peaceful relationship, especially between nations; peace; accord.
3. cordiality

It's not just about banjos and apple-picking. It's about cultivating strong relationships and trying to understand each other. Oh, Amity.

Also, it's not a faction, but for fun:

DIVERGENT: 1. diverging; differing; deviating.
2. pertaining to or causing divergence.
3. (of a mathematical expression) having no finite limits

Diverge: 1. to move, lie, or extend in different directions from a common point; branch off.
2. to differ in opinion, character, form, etc.; deviate.
3. Mathematics . (of a sequence, series, etc.) to have no unique limit; to have infinity as a limit.
4. to turn aside or deviate, as from a path, practice, or plan.

And:

FACTION: 1. a group or clique within a larger group, party, government, organization, or the like.
2. party strife and intrigue; dissension.

I'm just going to leave that one alone.

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