Writing, Arts & Entertainment

Exercises to Get You Going

R.L. Stine

Lesson time 4:52 min

Experiment with writing exercises you can utilize to jump-start your process.

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Topics include: Exercises to Get You Going


After taking my master class, I hope you'll be better prepared and ready to go, ready to write a short story or a novel. I came up with some exercises maybe to help get you going. They're in the workbook, you can check them out any time. The first one, of course, is write down three times you remember feeling truly, truly scared. Just make a list. Think back. Try to remember something that was scary. Make a list of those kind of things and see what you can write. Also, I talked a lot about titles. Make a list of funny horror titles or book titles, titles that you would be-- think you would be interested in reading. Make a list. Write down two titles, three titles. See how you do with titles. It says, spend an hour in an average place with lots of people. Just go to the park or a grocery store. Just watch them. Write down whatever sparks your imagination. Just watch people. Get in the habit of observing people and then see where your thoughts lead. See what directions you can think just watching in a normal situation. Try out developing a plot. Take an idea of your own or try using one of the horror story plots that I gave you, that's in the workbook. Develop it until you have an idea of your basic plot. Start with just a couple of scenes. Build from there. Then, if you love the idea, take it further. See how far this idea will take you. Play around with point of view, and this is a useful exercise and it's something sometimes I do. Maybe sometimes I'll start a book third person and say, well, I can make this much better first person, and I'll go back and write the chapter and do it. Or you try-- write something third person, write the same scene first person. See what happens. See if it helps you out. Prose style. Choose an author you like. Write a scene totally mimicking that author's style. I think I talked about when I was a kid, there were-- I mimicked author's styles all the time-- to this day. Take some author that you really like and see if you can write in that author's style. It really does help. It's not just copying. Take a scene you've already written or write one based on those 20 ideas on my list, then revise the scene. Force yourself to make it all dialogue. See if you can tell the whole scene just in dialogue. I think that's a really good exercise, and really good for helping you figure out how to tell a story in dialogue and not have to slow the book down with a whole lot of description. Write a scary scene. Take one of my 20 horror ideas and write a scary scene. Make sure to slow it down. Slow it-- write it slowly, so that the reader gets every bit of fear, every tingle, every bit of fright in the character. Make sure you write it very slowly. Don't skip over anything. Don't forget to think about all the senses. What is the character seeing? Smelling? What does a-- what does she hear? What sounds are in the background? Try to include all of that. All of it adds up to make a scene really scary. Try mak...

About the Instructor

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.

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R.L. Stine

The Goosebumps author teaches you how to generate ideas, outline a plot, and hook young readers from the first page.

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