Arts & Entertainment
Lesson time 08:17 min
Learn how to first revise on your own and then seek honest feedback. Bob teaches you what questions to ask of your draft-readers and editors—and how to take criticism in stride.
When I've finished a manuscript and I have a first draft of a book, I go back up to the beginning and I read it. And I read it as a reader, but I also, read it looking for a lot of things. And I look for scenes that seem to drag. I look for mistakes that I've made. Once, I wrote a manuscript about a boy named, Chris, and halfway through the book, his name was Jack, and his name changed halfway through. But I caught it. After the first draft, I caught it, and I was able to change it. So you look for mistakes. I always look for weather mistakes. You're always saying, it was a cloudy day and then, suddenly, the sun is on the next page. I look for consistency, all the way through. And then, I look for typos-- typing's very important to me. And then, I look for scenes that don't go far enough. And a lot of times, I'll have some scary scene that I've done in the first draft and I'm looking at it and I think, I can make this scarier. I've have it down already. I can just take what I have, but I can increase the horror. I can slow it down. I can add this. I can add more feeling. I can have the kid more scared. It should be more. And I usually do that, almost in every manuscript, when I go through the second time because you have something to look at. You've got a base here. And then, you can build on it. [MUSIC PLAYING] You've done a first draft, and then, you've gone through, you've done a second draft and you've caught everything. And you've read it and thought about it more. You got your second draft. Then, find someone who's willing to read it. Find someone who likes to read. Someone who's maybe, whose opinion you trust. Find somebody-- a family member-- somebody who will read it. If you have somebody who is willing to read your manuscript, after they read it, ask them, what do you think of the characters? Which characters did you like? Did it seem real? Do the characters seem real? And how was the pacing? Do you think it dragged in some places? What do you think? Was there any place you didn't believe? Anything you didn't believe? What did you think? What did you think of the action? Those are the basic questions you want to ask, after a second draft. Find someone-- a lot of people have readers or they have reader clubs. A lot of writers I know, have first readers, and they do it for fun. Or they pay people. They say, just give me an opinion. Ask someone in your family who likes to read. Find somebody and just say, give me an opinion. And it'll help. When you're starting out, you don't have an editor. You don't have someone to tell you, go through it line by line. But to get an opinion on your first draft, just someone who says, gee, I loved the first part and then, it kind of dipped off. Or someone who says, oh, gee, that character just wasn't likable at all. I didn't want to like that person. That kind of help-- even though it's not coming from a professional, it'll still give you a clue ...
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.
FANTASTIC class! Mr. Stine is both a great writer and a teacher, presenting these lessons in a clear, fun way. He's generous with information and anecdotes, which I truly appreciated. I'll be back to review these lessons again soon. THANK YOU!
R.L. Stine provided me with incredible advice on how to write my fist book, and I will make sure use what I know to aka e something awesome!
I'm a 70-year-old aspiring screenwriter and wasn't expecting a "kids" horror writer to be "that" profound. However, this turned out to be one of the best ever, really, bravo Mr. Stine!
I thoroughly enjoyed learning from Mr. Stine. His candid style was authentic, entertaining and informative. He made everything seem so simple that I am inspired to try. Thanks for sharing your knowledge R. L. Stone.