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Arts & Entertainment

Twenty Story Ideas for You

R.L. Stine

Lesson time 3:15 min

Bob shares 20 story ideas to take away and make your own.

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.


Here's something a little extra for you. And I put this up on the Masterclass Resources page, and you can download it and print it out and look at it and think about it, or not, or whatever. I put down 20 scary story ideas that you can use for kids. You can feel free. Take any one of them. Use them all. Put them-- whatever you want to do. These are 20 ideas. A lot of them I've done. A lot of them you can take and do in different ways. You can do whatever you want. I said earlier that I can tell you how to go about finding ideas, but I can't really tell you how to get an idea of your own. But here are 20 ideas you can use, and see if anything strikes you as interesting or useful, OK. Here we are. One, a creepy doll comes to life. Two, a scene from a nightmare comes true the next day. Three, days go by and your parents don't come home. Four, you feel yourself slowly becoming a monster. Five, your friends start to disappear and no one else notices. Six, you are lost in the woods and don't know how you got there. Seven, you're inhabited by a ghost that controls you and makes you do crazy things. I like that one. I've written it about six times. We're on eight. You have no reflection in the mirror. Nine, the teacher is a monster, but no one will believe you. 10, you hypnotize your brother, and you can't snap him out of it. Wishful thinking. 11, a fortune teller reveals that you are evil. 12, someone follows you home, and it's your exact double. 13, you find a diary that tells the future. 14, every time you wake up, you're a different person. 15, your parents explain that you are actually an alien from another planet. 16, you know someone is watching you day and night from the house across the street. 17, you realize you are shrinking. 18, while reading a scary book, you discover that you're a character in it. 19, someone is living in your mirror. And finally, 20, everyone knows your new neighbors are vampires, and the kids invite you over for a sleepover. And there's 20 good scary ideas that you're welcome to use for writing kids horror. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC]

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.

Stine was wacky but wonderful. He told his story and gave numerous ideas and incentives to write. He definitely motivated me!

I wish the workbook and student community were more evident in every class/video. It feels like the workbook is a completely separate part, and feels disconnected from the classes. However, I did learn a lot from R.L. Stine and I enjoyed his class a lot. His personality is fun, funny, genuine, and honest. I genuinely feel that he did this class hoping to help aspiring authors grow.

Great lessons in writing horror for a younger audience.

is. may me think more. ideas. for stories


Jacinta N.

I think this was my favourite masterclass. When I was a teenager I LOVED RL Stine books, think am too old for the Goosebumps ones, I used to read this one called The Boyfriend

Jane R.

Great plot ideas. Number 3 happened to a friend of mine when she was 12 and her sister 9


Here’s another one: famous kids horror author meets with children at a bookstore for annual signing. He only signs five-six copies of his books. Once a year he publishes a new book and five or six kids that’ve been on those meetings disappear. Can you do this one, Bob?=)

Margaret M.

Idea #7, the ghost that lives inside you and controls you. Bob, which six books are those? I would love to study them and see how you made them all different.

Günter B.

I'm fiddling with various plots for a series of stories about a gang of twelve-year olds. They live in some small town on the west coast and call themselves "The Rascals". I tried to bend the story ideas a little to fit them to my characters. Today it's Number 11 "A Fortune Teller Reveals That You Are Evil" - I called that episode "True Colors" and it goes like this: Clark is the town's poster boy. Always cheerful, always willing to help, never late and never without his homework. The Rascals are tired of listening to their parents singing the praise of that exemplary boy. "If you could just be like Clark. Just a little bit." It's sickening and bad for morale. Clark's the president of the debate club, the math club, the chess club, and he's the star of the school's football team. And to top it all off he's extremely popular with the girls. Clark's not the least bit interested to become a member of The Rascals. Just to come close to that "bunch of losers" would seriously impair his standing with the teachers. That's why The Rascals have given up on him. Clark's a hopeless case. He's too perfect. Then, one day, the school-board agrees to let Dr. Gingrich test his newest gadget on the kids: The Psycho-MAT. The Psycho-MAT will render common lie detectors obsolete. Juries will not longer have to listen to controversial testimonies of dubious charachter witnesses. Just answer a double of questions and the revolutionary device will show you your true colors. As one of his first subjects Dr. Gingrich chooses Clark. Before he starts testing the rubble, he needs the perfect score from an unblemished, exceptional character. And as expected, Clark's test results are off the chart: He's the perfect psychopath. 100% pure evil.

Hagop K.

it’s crazy because these are all issues that everyone faces in life in someway. maybe not exactly, but in a more psychological way.

Padmini S.

I believe that many of us have undergone all of the above at some point in our lives!

Tina K.

The irony is just my life. Story idea #16 is a real-life occurrence in my new neighborhood. The three-year-old girl across the street confessed to me, she likes to watch my dog and me from her window. And, the next door neighbor's dog watches us from a perch on a sofa. One morning I was outside and I felt like someone was watching me, and I see this small, black/white, furry face in the window, no barking, just watching my dog, Lady, and me. I immediately thought of how scary it would be if the dog started to talk! What have you done to my imagination, R.L. Stine?

Rob G.

"You hypnotise your brother and you can't snap him out of it". I love it. In fact I love all of these ideas.

Jolene M.

I love the thought of a whole other life and world inside my mirror! So many places to go with that, no pun intended.