Have you ever wondered where the ideas for characters and stories originate?

The Night Buddies Adventures series started with author Sands Hetherington and his son John dreaming up Crosley the crocodile during months of bedtime story give-and-take. They collaborated many nights on escapades starring John and Crosley until it occurred to Sands why it was that Crosley was bright red. That was when the first book came together. The rest, as they say, is history. Sands will publish the fourth Night Buddies adventure, Night Buddies and the Evil School Bus, later this year.

For Dav Pilkey, pictures and stories emerged from hours spent in the hallway of his elementary school. According to Dav’s website, he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia and was so disruptive in class that teachers made him sit out in the hallway. He used those hours to draw and make up stories that would one day be the start of his popular Dog Man and Captain Underpants books.

Adam Gidwitz is author of The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, which won the 2017 Newberry Honor Award. He says he spent most of his school days in the principal’s office. Later he taught elementary school and decided he wanted to write for that audience. Many of the stories came from his time in France, exploring monasteries, dungeons, and ancient forests, collecting stories and facts.

Lisa Yee (Millicent Min, Girl Genius) watches and observes the world around her and says she finds ideas everywhere. (Watch her hilarious video about writing.) Her advice to aspiring authors: “Read, read, read, write, read, write, write, and then read some more. Really. In order to be a good writer, you must also be a good reader.”