Hinton's father got a brain tumor. That is when Hinton began writing The Outsiders.
Hinton was a teenager when she wrote the story, and she wanted to write a story about teenagers. She wanted the book to portray the darker, truer adolescent world.
When Hinton wrote the story, she thought about all the rich kids in Tulsa whose families benefited from the oil money. She thought about the rich kids wearing wheat jeans and madras shirts and driving in Mustangs.
Most of all, Hinton wanted to write about the injustices perpetrated against her Greaser friends by the Socs.