Robert Lawrence Stine (R.L. Stine) is a person who would go down in history as one of the best-selling authors for selling over 400-million books and have these translated into 35 languages. But if there is anything that he loves best, it would be scaring people.
Before he became the author of Goosebumps book series, he was nurtured by his homemaking mother and shipping and warehouse clerk father. He has a younger brother and sister. Born from a poor family, he would always be in his room and one time, he found an old typewriter in the attic, this changed his life as this very instrument became his best friend.
The Big Break
Like everyone, he also went through many ups and downs in life but only one thing remained – his love for writing. He spent many of his days doing what he loves best until the days he decided to scare everyone. With the help of his wife Jane, he first published his teen horror novel, “Blind Date” which became a great hit. Several other novels sold like hot pancakes but it was in 1992, when he released the first of his Goosebumps books that he gained worldwide prominence.
Write from the heart. “Well, I hate it when authors come into a school and they say to kids, ‘Write from your heart, only write what you know, and write from your heart.’ I hate that because it’s useless. I’ve written over 300 books – not one was written from my heart. Not one. They were all written for an audience, they were all written to entertain a certain audience.
“People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”
Persistence is the key. “It’s hard for children’s authors to be accepted when they try to write adult books. J.K. Rowling is the exception because people are so eager to read anything by her, but it took Judy Blume three or four tries before she had a success.”
Use your imagination. “I’ve never turned into a bee – I’ve never been chased by a mummy or met a ghost. But many of the ideas in my books are suggested by real life. Most fears are basic: fear of the dark, fear of going down in the basement, fear of weird sounds, fear that somebody is waiting for you in your closet. Those kinds of things stay with you no matter what age.”
See beyond the fear. “When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me, and try to put those feelings into books. If you do enough planning before you start to write, there’s no way you can have writer’s block. I do a complete chapter by chapter outline.”
Read. Read. Read. “Just don’t read one type of book. Read different books by various authors so that you develop different styles. Sometimes it helps to scold yourself, to give yourself advice.”
And lastly? “The only lesson is, you gotta keep at it.”
R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween premieres Friday, October 12, in the USA.