Lesson time 5:10 min
Bob teaches you how to write an effective hook that swiftly captivates young readers.
Topics include: Set Up the Action Immediately • Open Case Study: I Am Slappy’s Evil Twin
In the first chapter of a book for kids, they have to know-- the first chapter has to tell them what's happening, what the book is. It pretty much has to tell them what they're going to expect. It has to establish an awful lot. And kids know right from the start that it's something they're gonna want to read. That it's something-- it's characters that they like right away and something bad has happened right away. And first page, first two pages, they can see what's going to develop, what the problem is gonna be, what's going to happen, right away. We get the kids in, get them described, and then get into the action and get it going. Chapter 1 ends in some kind of shock, some kind of cliffhanger-- no time for background, nothing interfering with the action, and keeping the plot going. And that's one of the tricks. [MUSIC PLAYING] I thought I would read a section of "I Am Slappy's Evil Twin." There's a prologue, and then this is the first chapter. And I'm reading it because I think it's a really good example of what you want to do in the first chapter. You want to meet the kids. You want to kind of find out what they're like a little bit. And then you want to know what's going to happen right away. And this chapter pretty much does that. "Hey, guys, I'm Luke Harrison. I'm the red-headed kid poking around in the tool chest in the garage, trying to figure out what a Phillips screwdriver looks like. Yes, I'm twelve--" as are all Goosebumps kids-- "I probably should know more about tools by now. But I'm not the mechanical type. I mean, the most complicated thing I ever built was a snowman! That's a joke. Actually, I've never built anything in my life-- until we decided to build this drone for a school contest." So there, now you've met Luke. He's the main character. And you pretty much-- you know quite a bit about him just in the first two paragraphs. "'Hurry up, Luke. I can't hold this forever.' That's my sister, Kelly, across the garage. She's holding two pieces of the frame together. Kelly isn't much help, either. Well, she's good at holding things. And she's good at telling us what we're doing wrong. So I guess that's helpful." Now we know Kelly. "Luckily, our friend Jamal is a mechanical genius. No, seriously, he's a genius at this stuff. He was one of those kids who built an entire city as big as his living room out of LEGOs when he was still in diapers. Jamal bought the 'Make-Your-Own-Drone' kit we're using. And when he spread all the pieces out in our garage, he didn't like the instructions. So he threw them out. He said he could do it better, and we believed him. The drone had four motors. We had special batteries for the motors. And then a small propane tank for the back of the frame. I guess for liftoff. Kelly and Jamal began to assemble another side of the frame. The afternoon sun slid behind some trees, and shadows swept over the garage. I stepped to the back wall and clicked on the garage lights. 'Don'...
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.
R.L. Stine made his class enjoyable with his tips and ideas. It was nice to follow his journey into writing children’s books and will definitely recommend his class to others.
This is definitely a 5 star class! R. L. Stine is such a likeable person, not just a great author. He really is authentic. In other words, he's not one of those fake author types who wax poetically about their muse and how they talk to their characters, etc. He's the real thing and the advice he gives is very helpful.
I feel much more grounded in writing. He makes it a real thing and not a muse driven whim or flight of fancy. I love that he doesn't get writer's block. That was the biggest for me. You write the outline and then follow it. Move on if you need to, come back if you need to. I love it!
I currently write non-fiction as a ghostwriter, and am expanding to write Young Adult under my own name. This course taught me a lot about writing for children and young adults. It was inspirational. Thanks Bob!