How Do They Come Up With Their Ideas?


Even famous authors have to get their ideas from somewhere. Find out below how they thought of their famous stories

Some of Our Favorites

Beverly Cleary

By the third grade she had conquered reading and spent much of her childhood either with books or on her way to and from the public library. Before long her school librarian was suggesting that she should write for boys and girls when she grew up. The idea appealed to her, and she decided that someday she would write the books she longed to read but was unable to find on the library shelves, funny stories about her neighborhood and the sort of children she knew. And so Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, and her other beloved characters were born.

Roald Dahl

Dahl didn't believe that stories just appeared, but that you had to work hard to think of them! "You start with the germ of an idea," he once said, "...a tiny germ... a chocolate factory? ... a peach, a peach that goes on growing..." He would write all of these ideas in his beloved red exercise book. But if his exercise book wasn't handy he would scribble a note on anything to remind himself – even if he had to write in crayon or lipstick!

Dahl also drew on his own life quite a bit for inspiration. For example, Dahl's Norwegian heritage can clearly be seen as an influence in The Witches. His first book of short stories, Over to You: 10 Stories of Flyers and Flying, was certainly prompted by his experiences in the R.A.F. The characters and situations in the "Claud's Dog" series fromSomeone Like You were supposedly based on actual people in Dahl's village of Aylesbury.

Tim Green

To me, the thrill of creating stories that can change the quality of a person's life is as breathtaking a notion as sacking an NFL quarterback. So, just as I worked hard in the weight room and on the practice field to get to the NFL, I read and studied and wrote just as hard to become a best-selling author.

I learned that writing is really about re-writing. That's where it all happens. First, you have to get your ideas down on paper, without worrying about how good or bad it is. Just start. Then the real writing begins, re-working the story, the characters, the themes, over and over until it shines.