From Judy Blume's MasterClass

Finding Ideas - Part 1

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.

Topics include: Let Your Imagination Roam • Observe Everything • Tune In • Use Your Own Life


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.

Topics include: Let Your Imagination Roam • Observe Everything • Tune In • Use Your Own Life

Judy Blume

Teaches Writing

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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.


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

Judy was amazing. I treasure all the valuable information and tips she gave me during this class. Most of all I treasure the confidence she was able to transmit.

Judy Blume’s masterclass is beyond inspiring! It was a gift of heart and soul. I am thrilled that I chose to watch this particular Master Class. It is full of wisdom and valuable advice. Thank you!

I would have expected a bit more about the actual writing process. Examples

This is going to be a great class for me. I love listening to her stories.


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.

A fellow student

I haven't read her books since I was a kid but I remember a little girl being afraid that the Nazis had escaped and were living in Miami Beach and coming to get her. It's true, Judy Blume always wrote about the things kids were afraid of, and that's why they resonated so well. Also ALL the kids in my class loved the Fudge books. Omg and Ramona. What wonderful characters.


Now I don't feel so bad that I sometimes take out my compact mirror and do a "back view" to see the people talking behind me in the restaurant, or sneak a cell-phone photo not looking backwards!!


Observation is a great way to build realistic characters. Judy consistently shows that writing is a process and, by sharing her passion for writing, inspires me to focus on the different elements that she describes.