Writing, Arts & Entertainment

Writing as a Career

R.L. Stine

Lesson time 12:06 min

Bob shares advice for aspiring writers and teaches why it's important to choose your genre and understand the market.

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

Topics include: Understand Your Ambitions • Choose Your Genre and Audience • Know the Market • Find the Right Day Job • Say "Yes"


If you think you want to be a writer, there's one thing I think is really important, and it's a very basic thing-- you have to actually like to write. There are-- I don't know, I was an odd kid. I was weird. When I was nine years old I was in my room typing. I was writing. I was like driven to it. I have no idea why. And I think if you really want to be a writer, you have to like the process of writing. If you think you want to do it because it's easy, or you like being alone all day, or you want to be famous, or you want your books to become movies, that's probably not a good idea because it probably won't work out. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think very early on, you have to decide what kind of writer you want to be. I always wanted to entertain people. I started out writing funny books, and then the scary books came along. And my whole goal was just to entertain, to get kids to read. It was reading motivation to show kids that it could be entertaining. You could turn to books, and just be entertained, and nothing else. And I had no further ambition than that. I wanted to be a commercial writer, and I think you have to figure out whether you want to do that kind of thing, or if you have literary ambitions, and you want to write something that's more for yourself than for an audience. Ken Follett-- the novelist, Ken Follett-- told me a great story on this subject. He was having a phone conversation with another author, a very literary author, very artistic, very serious author, and the author said to Ken, I only write for myself. I don't write for the audience. I only want to please one person, that's me. And when I write, I write everything just for me. And Ken said, well, that's why you are a great writer, and I'm rich. [MUSIC PLAYING] When you're starting out as a writer, I think before you start thinking about your audience, and who they are, you want to pick, specifically-- you have to figure out how are you going to figure out what you want to write. You're not going to just sit down, and start writing a novel about something. You have to think about what you're interested in, for one thing. Or what do you read? Do you read a lot of science fiction? So maybe that's what you want to write. You're going to-- you want to write about what you're really interested in. Do you read a lot of romances, and do you find those really fun? So maybe you want to try one. That's what you want to write. And then once you figure out what genre you want to write, then you can start thinking about the audience, and thinking about who these people who are going to want to read it. Maybe they are people just like you. But I think it's really important, if you're drawn to something, figure out what you want to do, what audience you want. Who's your audience? Do you want to write for adults? Do you want to write for a big general audience? Do you want to write for someone-- a literary audience? Try to figure out what you want to do first...

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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