Wave away your writer's block and go on a writer's quest. Believe that we all have a story inside us.
Where do writers find their muse?
Oh, not very far.
Some bestseller authors have answered this question.
Check out interviews with diverse YA fantasy authors.
“One of my goals in writing The School for Good and Evil was to give the book new energy from chapter to chapter, so you never feel like you're in the same place twice. For each of the 30 chapters, I'd pick a book (sometimes a piece of music or an article) that I remembered loving as a child or adolescent and obsessively reread it until I put the chapter to bed. None of the books had explicit links to The School for Good and Evil -- in fact, most of them aren't even fantasy. But in the end, I realized I had a 'playlist' to my own imagination, at once light and dark, good and evil.”
Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil)
“In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had. His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the only really independent person—boy or man—in the community, and by consequence he was tranquilly and continuously happy and envied by the rest of us.”
“Like the ideas for some of my other novels, that came to me in a dream… I fell asleep on the plane, and dreamt about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed the remains to her pig and bound his novel in human skin. His skin, the writer’s skin. I said to myself, ‘I have to write this story.’ Of course, the plot changed quite a bit in the telling. But I wrote the first forty or fifty pages right on the landing here, between the ground floor and the first floor of the hotel.”
“One night, I was lying in bed and I was very tired, and I was just sort of channel surfing on television. And, I was going through, flipping through images of reality television where there were these young people competing for a million dollars or a bachelor or whatever. And then I was flipping and I was seeing footage from the Iraq War. And these two things began to sort of fuse together in a very unsettling way, and that is when I, really, I think was the moment where I really got the idea for Katniss’s story.”
Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games)
“I woke up (on that June 2nd) from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately.”
Stephenie Meyer (Twilight)
“Throne of Glass” began as a twist on Cinderella — and your upcoming adult fantasy, “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” is a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast.” […] It involved looking at our world’s history and at conquering empires like the Roman Empire — how things like roads and one unifying language broke other cultures apart. Parts of Wendlyn — like the terrain of Varese, its capital — were inspired by some Tuscan cities that I visited on a family trip to Italy. And the Metropolitan Opera House — the feeling of being there and hearing music live — that experience isn’t “researched,” but moments like that have made their way into the series.”
Sarah J. Maas (The Throne of Glass)
“My big idea didn’t start out as big. In fact, I didn’t realize it was even an “idea” until a friend gave me feedback that went something like: “I love your focus on diversity. It’s cool you incorporated other races and special-needs characters into the book. What made you decide to do that?”
“Huh?” I frowned. She clearly didn’t understand. The big idea was supposed to be female empowerment. You know – slave girl with superpowers discovers her worth isn’t in her status or abilities but in who she is? Yeah, that.
Later, as my shaky hands slipped the story into a few more inboxes, the replies came back with more of the same: “Good job on how diverse it is. How’d you come up with that?”
Um… I didn’t. But I should have. I should have considered the importance of diversity in story. Been intentional. Yeah, that.”
Mary Weber (Storm Siren)
“I wanted the world of Morrighan to have its own unique laws, religion, and practices, and I drew from many places and cultures. Henna art in particular fascinated me […] One thing I hadn’t planned when Lia got her “kavah” on her back was for part of it to stay. Henna usually only lasts a few weeks, but in Lia’s case, something went wrong (or right?) and one section refused to be washed away. That wasn’t just a magical moment for Lia, but for me too, sort of a realization, that this was the beginning of something bigger.”
Mary E. Pearson (The Kiss of Deception)
"Anytime that I am in a superstore, I'm thinking about how I can make a house out of it. Maybe it's the structure of the space because they're usually made of concrete blocks and I feel like I'm in a bunker. I start casing the joint for supplies and try to figure out how I can survive there if I got stuck. […] I wanted to explore power dynamics between teenage boys. That was really interesting to me, and I thought if you had all these kids together, closed off from the world, they'd have to figure out who was in charge. And, also, the people who are popular and seem like good leaders in school, like Jake Simonsen [a celebrated jock character in the Monument 14], sometimes turn out to not so good when the pressure is on."
Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14)
“When I was five, I lived really close to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. That was 1989, the year the massacre happened, and I can still remember going out to the square with my aunt to see the crowds of student protesters as well as the tanks in the streets. I think that left a permanent impression on me, and definitely influenced how I created the Republic in Legend. I also drew from what I see as real-life examples of dystopia—ancient Sparta, the eugenics movement in the United States during the early 1900s, Nazi Germany, China’s Cultural Revolution, North Korea, etc. I wanted to create a dystopian society that felt like it could really exist. Finally, I also drew from our current state of American politics. The sort of extremism we’ve seen lately on both sides is something that inspired the civil war atmosphere of Legend’s United States.”
Marie Lu (Legend)
“It was a lot of smaller ideas that stacked up. One of my close friends was working in a tattoo parlor at the time, and being there gave me the idea for the rune system. I wanted to write something that would combine elements of traditional high fantasy—an epic battle between good and evil, terrible monsters, brave heroes, enchanted swords—and recast it through a modern, urban lens. So you have the Shadowhunters, who are these very classic warriors following their millennia-old traditions but in these urban, modern spaces: skyscrapers, warehouses, abandoned hotels, rock concerts. In fairy tales it was the dark and mysterious forest outside the town that held the magic and danger. I wanted to create a world where the city has become the forest—where these urban spaces hold their own enchantments, danger, mysteries, and strange beauty.”
Cassandra Clare (Shadowhunters)
"The idea of writing a zombie YA came first, and I had to let it brew for a little while. I think I had Wren semi-formed in my head when I heard The Hush Sound’s song, “Honey,” which goes, “Honey, honey, honey, you’re the death of me…you’ve got a dark heart, you’ve got a cold kiss,” and the whole thing just sort of exploded into being. What I love, too, is that you could listen to the song from Danny’s POV."
Amy Garvey (Cold Kiss Interview)