Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Kids Are the Best Audience

R.L. Stine

Lesson time 10:03 min

Making your books fun and easy to read is the key to hooking young readers. Learn Bob’s strategies for understanding young audiences.

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Topics include: Make Your Books Fun for Kids • Know What Age You Want to Write For • Get to Know Your Readers’ World • Kids Make Great Fans


I love the idea that people can turn to books for-- just for entertainment and nothing else. And so I have-- in "Goosebumps" or "Fear Street," there's nothing you can learn. There's no moral lesson. People always say, what are the morals that you're teaching? What are the-- there aren't any. There are none. The main moral lesson is run. Run as fast as you can. That's it, because I just-- I don't want that. You know, adults have the right-- they give themselves the right to read all kinds of trash, right? And adults can read entertaining magazines. But somehow, they think when it comes to kids reading, that the kids have to be elevated by what they read. There was always a rule in children's publishing that the characters in a children's book have to learn and grow. And I just rejected that idea. And I thought, if adults can read something just for fun with nothing else-- no socially redeeming value whatsoever-- kids-- kids have the same right. And you're competing now. If you're writing books for kids, you're competing with so many other things-- with, you know, tablets, and phones, and video games. And there's such competition. You've got to really work to get kids to read now. And you've got to create something that they'll think, oh, this is just as much fun as watching something. People always say, why do you write these scary books, if I'm in a crowd, speaking or something. And I always say, well, I just like to scare kids. But that's not really what the books are about. They're about getting kids to read. Believe me. There's nothing more satisfying to me than these parents who come up to me all the time and say, my son never read a book before. Last night, I caught him in the middle of the night under the covers reading one of your books with a flashlight. I never get tired of stories like that. And wherever I go, I get these stories of, my kid learned to read on your books. Or my kid learned to like books from-- from yours. And that's the whole point of it. It's not-- I don't really want to terrify kids. Some of you may be thinking of writing for kids. You might be starting to think about your audience. You know, generally, there's middle grade, which is generally 7 to 11, maybe 7 to 12. I lose readers at 12. They move on to other authors. And then there's young adult, which is very popular now. The YA books are generally read-- maybe kids starting at 11 or 12 and then up to 15. And the interesting thing about young adult in these days is that 40% of the young adult novels are read by adult women. Adults read them. So that's something to really keep in mind if you're going to write teen books-- that there's a giant adult readership now, which is-- didn't used to happen in the past. You know, I write for both. And I-- you have to kind of know what age. You have to start with the age of the characters. And if you write-- kids like to read about kids who are a little bit older than them, and so-- no...

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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