Writing

Finding Ideas - Part 1

Judy Blume

Lesson time 9:14 min

Judy believes the most powerful stories come from within, yet writers need to be highly attuned to the world around them. She shares her process for identifying and developing strong ideas.

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You never know where an idea is coming from. It certainly comes from your own life and experiences, but it also comes from everything out in the world-- everything that you see, that you hear, that you read, something that someone tells you. Just one little, tiny something can spark a whole book. For me, when I wrote Margaret, I was deep inside the child I was. And even though her family is nothing like my family-- her friends aren't really like my friends were. But the imagination takes over. But the feeling-- the feeling is something that you know. And then you take off with it in your imagination. You just imagine this whole story that evolves slowly, as we'll talk about. But it's that deep down feeling. Because the best stories do come from deep inside, that doesn't mean they're coming from your life. But they're coming from deep inside. There's something that you hear that resonates. And it's like just coming up and coming out. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you want to write, you're absolutely a people watcher. Because otherwise, why would you write? How do you invent characters? You see things, that's how. So it's really all about listening everywhere. Listen in the elevator. Listen on the street. Listen in restaurants. Listen wherever you are-- doctors offices, supermarket, everywhere. Listen, you're going to hear things that are going to help you get an idea or a character. When I'm writing, I do have antenna that stick up. And they're going around, and around, and around, and picking up everything-- every little detail. I'm observing everything. I remember once writing down something-- I've never used it. Feel free to use it. I saw a guy in a suit and he was getting on his bike, probably to go to work. And he was putting those-- I don't know what you even call them, the little things that make your pants tight so your pant leg doesn't get caught in the spokes or whatever. I saw him doing that, bending over. It was a certain way of bending over and putting them on. And I made a little note of that, because I thought, that's really good. I'm going to use that someday. I have not, so permission granted. But that's what it is. You're walking on the street, you see something. All of those details are going to help you create characters that are real. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think the heightened awareness is definitely something that people can work on, yes, and carry that little notebook with you-- a tiny little one-- or talk into your phone. Or say everything, everything that you see and hear during that period. Go out for a day, for instance, and have the heightened awareness. Be in that state. And write it all down in some way, and come home and see what you have. And I bet you, you will have a lot. Deenie, for instance, came from a conversation that I had with a woman I knew, an...


Write timeless stories

Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

My character development improved after taking the Judy Blume class. I began writing text messages back and forth to my protagonist​ and she came even more to life for me.

Thank you, Judy Blume, for sharing so much of yourself here and for creating the iconic stories that have meant so much to us all over the years. I thoroughly enjoyed your masterclass and I wish you all the best!

Nobody can tell me how to write but I can learn to be fearless.

I learned how important it is to read, read, and read if you want to write. Also that writing can feel like a job and that's ok. Just to keep doing it. My largest struggle is to let it all out and not worry now about the writing.


Comments

AuthorSheryl C.

That what I do. Watch how people act! Sometimes I take what would be obvious what you think of someone and change it. I relate Judy's Margret. I was child love talk to God in my head. I still do now sometimes. I was named by a nun and when I was in Catholic school our principal try convince my mom about me being Catholic again. Also a nun. I got lot of stories. I guess we all can build from our experience.

A fellow student

I love her books and when I was a teen so helpful with dealing with being a emotional and unsure teen. I saved the books for my girls and now have 6 granddaughters. I am really excited about taking this course with Judy Blume!

A fellow student

Can you get the workbook stuff via Mobile or do we have to go to pc to get it?

A fellow student

I am finding this so very inspiring. I agree with the following question about 'where is the workbook'? Could the people who put this together please make things like that clear. I'm not clever regarding technology, but I don't want to lose any of this.

A fellow student

I resonate with the stories in my head syndrome as a child.. a few of which I told my younger brother.

Angela D.

Sage advice. In an era where our eyes are glued to screens, I am grateful to be reminded to 'tune in' or rather tune back in, to the world around me to find my writing spark. Thank you Ms. Blume. I can't wait to get to a local coffee house tomorrow to do some active listening.

Sarah D.

I loved this lesson. I have so many life stories that could be turned into stories, pure fiction. I'm so glad I chose this class as my first Masterclass.

Violet W.

I was so much like she was as a child. I was constantly in an imagination world that also kept me company. I have always been a people watcher, and out of fear became very "ritualistic" as she put it. I prayed constantly making deals with god.

Cathy C.

this was so funny to learn that snooping is a skill that writers should have and copy into stories!!

A fellow student

I love this. I find myself people watching almost everywhere I go, but have never consciously thought to draw from that information to describe the way a character laughs or fidgets when they're talking or anything like that.