Kids Are the Best Audience

R.L. Stine

Lesson time 10:04 min

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

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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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...

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.


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

R. L. Stine's lectures are clear and concise. I bought the class because I want to have a better grasp on how to outline, and after listening to the process he uses (coupled with examples), I should be able to do it.

I do not write for the same age group Bob does, but the basic principles of writing and audience appeal are the same, and I have learned a lot by listening to Bob talk about them from the standpoint of a "less sophisticated" readership. Thank you, Bob.

R. L. Stine's Masterclass has been one of the most helpful writing masterclasses because he takes you through the process step by step and provides you with all the tricks and tips you need to begin writing your own scary tale.

It's bleeping RL STINE. What more could you ask for?


Omar D.

LMAO those letters were awesome! Btw. Mr. R.L if you are reading this the kid that says he has to be "escorted by his parents to the bathroom" is because he is scared, your books made him scared so he can't go to the bathroom by himself anymore! Gold!

Amanda G.

Oh my gosh I laughed so hard at the fan letters. With regard to the “you are my second favorite author” letter... As a teacher, I received lots of love letters from students as well, some sweet and sincere, some real true head scratchers... I had this really odd quirky girl once provide me SO PROUDLY with a letter which she insisted that I read in front of her. It said, “Dear Mrs. Gatton, You are my third favorite teacher. Love Haley” Now, I looked at this girl for a minute thinking this was some sort of goofy put on. But no, she gazed upon me with absolute adoration and I could tell she felt she had just present me with the utmost praise. So, I guess, in the fifth grade set, that’s a real compliment! Lolol

Patsy M.

I like it. I was afraid of outlines because to me that meant format with roman numerals and all kinds of confusion over how to make the outline, not what the outline said. This is so much better; simply, then, and then, and then; with details. It does seem frustrating, but I'm willing to try.

Pamela O.

This lesson was fun. I remember when my son was reading Goosebumps and they were fun also. Bravo!

Ann S.

R.L.Stine classes are marvelous and good lessons for all writers; people of all ages don't want to be told. They want to unfold the mystery of life themselves, even if the message is just run, run! That's what's fun.


Haha! The kid needs his/her parents to escort them to the bathroom because your books have made them nervous to go alone. Great letters! Now I want to write for that age group! :)

Pina B.

Just an enjoyable lesson...I didn't realize the depth of how much you need to know your audience right down to the music they like. So much to know, love the class...

Dennis R.

Loved this lesson. Kids are the best audience because the are truthful, excited about everything, and not corrupted by the adult world. I really loved the letters the kids wrote and happy Mr. Stine shared them. Kids are magical! Thanks for a great lesson, Mr. Stine.

Noah P.

The most helpful lesson of the bunch so far. Understand the audience is crucial.

Lauren M.

Loved this lesson. And he is absolutely right. I work in schools as a speech pathologist where everything is literacy based and honestly the kids hate the books they have to read in class. So I introduced Goosebumps graphic novels and the corresponding books and the kids loved them and couldn't wait to come to speech. They were for me a great tool to use to elicit language and vocabulary.