American author R.L. Stine has been enthralling kids with spooky tales for the better part of a quarter century. His ability to keep early adolescents reading – the “one more page” factor – is a gift that very few writers can rival. Stine recently participated in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on the news aggregation website Reddit. Here are his best writing tips.
#1 Sketch out your plot fully before you start writing
“I write a very complete chapter-by-chapter outline of every book before I start writing.”
#2 Inspiration can come from the gutter
“[Growing up] I read mostly comics – Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, MAD. When I was nine, I discovered Ray Bradbury. Changed my life.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of book titles
“All of my stories start with a title. The title leads me to the story… Once, the words ‘Monster Blood’ just popped into my head. Then I had to figure out what it was.”
Read – and enjoy – the competition
“I’m a big Stephen King fan. I think he’s a terrific storyteller. I also like Peter Straub.”
Keep moving forward
“I always wish I had done something differently, but I seldom look back at books. Gotta move on to the next one.”
Get an agent!
“Find a list of agents online and start showing them your stuff.”
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