Goosebumps author R.L. Stine wants to teach you how to write for young audiences

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Mar 29, 2018

"My job is to scare people, but in this MasterClass, I hope to teach you that writing doesn't have to be scary," says Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine. He's the latest to join the ranks of MasterClass, an online school of sorts that can teach you how to act, sing, direct, cook, and play tennis from a variety of famous people like Martin Scorsese, Samuel L. Jackson, Serena Williams, Malcolm Gladwell, Werner Herzog, Hans Zimmer, Christina Aguilera, and a ton of others. In particular, Stine's class will teach you how to write fiction for a younger audience. 

In the promo video below, Stine begins with the famous narration from the Goosebumps TV show of the mid-1990s: "Reader, beware, you're in for a scare." Known for his scary tales with shocking twists, the prolific author, 74, reveals that he usually decides on the ending, which allows him to think up ways to trick the reader the the entire time. Having been a fearful kid, Stine infuses his childhood fears into all of his work. 

"All those people who tell writers that writing is hard, I say don't listen to them. All those people who say writing is a constant struggle for ideas and battle against writer's block, I say, don't listen to them. In my five-hour course, I know I can prove to everyone that writing doesn't have to be scary!" Stine told SYFY WIRE over email. 

Its crucial to understand what age group you're attempting reach with your horror stories. If you're writing for a "middle grade" demographic, you have to let them know that it's all fake. "The real world can't interfere," he says in the video. "There's no divorce, no guns, no one ever dies. Once you establish that, you can go pretty far with the scares." When it comes to writing for an older audience, though, like teens, you've got make it seem real. "They have to believe this is happening." 

You can pay $180 for a yearlong subscription to MasterClass and have access to all its courses or pay $90 per class. Stine's curriculum comprises 28 lessons, so if you're interested, the 180 bucks isn't a terrible investment and you'll be able to learn about a wide variety of subjects.

In addition, a sequel to the 2015 adaptation of Stine's books is slated for a theatrical release on Oct. 12. Jack Black (The House with a Clock in its Walls) will reprise his role of the writer.