Writing

Combating Writer’s Block and Developing Routines

R.L. Stine

Lesson time 10:55 min

The best way to combat writer’s block is to be well-prepared. Learn the self-discipline, tools, and routines that helped Bob write the Goosebumps series.

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R.L. Stine
Teaches Writing for Young Audiences
The Goosebumps author teaches you how to generate ideas, outline a plot, and hook young readers from the first page.
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Everyone asks about writer's block. This is, like, after they say, where do you get your ideas? They say, what do you do about writer's block? And I've never had it, which I think is hardly luck. I think I'm just lucky. I can always sit down and write. Always. Sometimes I know the writing isn't any good. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing uphill, and it's just-- it's not right. It's not right. But I keep going, because I know I'm going to go back and fix it. I can always go back. But you have to just keep going forward. I think what I do to make writing easier, is I divide things up. I don't sit down, and I don't-- I'm not writing. And I have to figure out what my characters look like, or figure out their personality while I'm in the middle of the plot. I start out with a complete list of my characters. What they look like, what their basic personalities are. Then I have my outline. The outline has the beginning of the book, the middle, it's got the ending. I know where I'm going to go. If you have an outline, it's very hard to have writer's block because you know where to go next. And if you're having trouble with one chapter, it's not coming, it's not coming, go on to the next chapter and write that one, and then go back. But I think the real key-- and I worry about writers who don't plan ahead. They don't want to know, they want to-- they want to write spontaneously. And there are a lot of them. But I worry about them and writer's block, because you can reach a point if you haven't planned it out, you can reach a point where you don't know where to go next. But that never happens to me because of the outline. So I would say, the more complete your preparation is, the easier it is to finish the book, and the harder it is to get writer's block. The more preparation you do, the more you're going to be fine when you write the book. I'm like a machine when it comes to writing. And I would hope that other people have the same feeling, and the same-- I'll tell you my routine. And I really recommend this. Maybe not the hours that I do, but to be able to stick to it every day, and to keep at it, and to, like, make it almost like factory work where you're there, you're doing piece work. You're doing it. You're getting it done, you're getting it done. And I hope people who want to be writers-- it's a good thing to aim for, that kind of discipline I think. Or maybe it's crazy. I mean, you'd have to be really crazy to write 300 books, right? I never know. But I'm there every day. And I still, you know, after 25 years of Goosebumps, whatever, I sit down, maybe 9:30 in the morning, and I start to write. I have my outline. I'm all set. I have the outline of the book. I write this book. Every day I write 2,000 words, which is about 10 pages. Everyone used to go by pages. Now in publishing, because of the computer tells you the words, everyone goes by words. And so, Goosebumps books have to be 23,000 words. But I set a goal for myself eve...


Take the fear out of writing

Award-winning novelist R.L. Stine wrote jokes and funny stories for 20 years before he switched gears and became a horror-writing legend. Since then, the author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series has sold more than 400 million copies. In his first-ever online writing class, Bob takes the fear out of crafting fiction. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll learn new ways to conquer writer’s block, develop plots, and build nail-biting suspense that will thrill young readers.



Reviews

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

Very honest and straightforward. My kids were fans before I was. Great instruction in this course.

There is something completely compelling and weirdly cute about this odd man. He's a great teacher and although I've never read one of his books, I will now even though I'm WAY out of the age range of his regular readers. So fascinating. Thanks for being so interesting and so open Mr. Stine. Way to go!

Fun and funny! I enjoyed his classes very much.

I enjoyed listening to RL Stine. I think his method is very similar to mine, which is comforting.


Comments

Amanda G.

I am a meticulous planner but I still get writer’s block. For me I think it’s mostly because of having the attention span of a gnat, and Major Depression Disorder. But those are cop outs, I know. Discipline is the key for sure. I think I’m going to start having my kids handcuff me to my desk lol

Shayne O.

Writer's block seems to be a bit of an urban myth because none of the writers in any of these Masterclass lessons seem to have ever been afflicted with writer's block. Which is good. I do love the methodical approach.

Michael U.

"Three hundred books written by typing with one finger." That one statement took away all my excuses for why I can't write consistently.

A fellow student

Wow you’re a great heroic inspiration to me. . Need to develop that discipline. I already know how to have fun with writing,just have to climb on the mountain top of perseverance again as when younger. . I was already writing books when 6 years old but bullying and a misunderstood brain which was too imaginative for my parents to handle took toll and was wrongly misdiagnosed and the beginning writer persona is born again now, I guess. So grateful for this opportunity you’re giving me. I’ll take what I learn and roll it up like a Creativity enterprising machine and use it for the purpose I’ve survived all my pivotal life threatened experiences for. I’m convinced about that and want others that share similar experiences to climb on and swim in the musical ocean of it all. But of course for children’s books I ll keep my wording easy for them and focus on your important points,like cliffhangers. I have to start all over again but as far as enjoying the creating of worlds within layers of worlds I love it! E.V.

Rachel M.

I use music when I really need to get into the mood. But I always make sure it's instrumental music without any words, otherwise the words are going to distract me. Like if it's an action scene I'll pull up superhero music or if it's a medieval setting I'll pull up medieval music and so on and so forth.

Sydney

Lefties unite! Thank you for yet another great lesson, Bob. All of these tips are really helping me better understand what I want to accomplish with my stories, and I can’t wait to try out incorporating them into my writing routine too.

Arlie

Thank you Mr. Stine! I also write alone in a quiet room with my outline nearby. I've often wondered if I'm doing it wrong and should be out at a coffee shop while letting my characters guide the story. It's a relief to hear that different methods can still lead to success.

Clara S.

Two thousand words per day—that's also in my line of work. Unlike Bob, I can work with a lot of noise in the background, but like Bob, I’m fairly organized with outlines, bios and everything I need to get the story going. Love to know he’s human too lol.

Ryan L.

I do two pages a day. It's about all my brain can handle at once and I'm really in awe of people who can do more.

Rob G.

I'm getting more and more out of this with every lesson. And it's so refreshing to hear that despite the stories about how Bob writes his books, he's open enough to acknowledge that all writers are different. I wonder what would happen if Harlan Coben and R.L.Stine decided to write a book together.