Books

NYCC 2013: R.L. Stine Panel

Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

As RL Stine, whose real name is actually Bob, walked up to the stage, he confessed that he was a little overwhelmed by the size of the crowd. The audience cheered and screamed as he took a seat and prepared to answer questions.

First, he explained his experience with comic books. He used to read all the DC Horror comics as a kid because he loved the twist endings. They had a great influence on his writing as an adult. He also admitted that he never actually wanted to be a writer. He always wanted to be a cartoonist.

He joked, “There’s a mysterious thing with your brain where some people can draw and some people can’t. So I’m a writer.”

Stine then went on to say that Ray Bradbury was one of the people who turned him into a reader. When he met Bradbury quite a time later, he told him he was his hero. Bradbury responded by telling Stine that he was a hero to a lot of people as well.

Stine started out by writing little joke magazines in his room on a typewriter. Once he got older, he got a job writing for a men’s magazine. He was embarrassed by the stories he wrote, and ended up signing his brother’s and high school principal’s names rather than his own.

He ended up at Scholastic and wrote for various magazines. His favorite was a humor magazine called Bananas.

Stine then started to explain how a friend of his told him he should write a book called Blind Date. Blind Date ended up being his first novel, and he chuckled, saying, “Everything good in life that ever happened to me was not my idea.” He figures he just stumbled on to things that people want to read.

“Writing is the only thing in my life I’m confident at,” he declared.

After Fear Street became a huge success, Stine was approached about writing books to scare the younger crowd. He didn’t want to do it because he didn’t want to mess up Fear Street, but he ended up agreeing, proclaiming, “If I can think of a good name for the series, we can try two or three.”

Well, he ended up seeing the word “Goosebumps” in a TV guide and “two or three” books turned into well over 300 books that he joked he typed with a single index finger!

His process is very rigid. Stine always plans every single detail out in a chapter-by-chapter outline before putting the pen to paper. He boasts that he couldn’t possibly have writer’s block. He writes everyday, 2000 words a day (which translates to 10-12 pages.) Stine also said he has to start out with a title, not an idea. Every idea grows out of a title he’s already thought of.

Related: NYCC 2013: Superman 75th Anniversary Panel

Nowadays, Stine spends a lot of his time on Twitter, trying to stay connected with old fans from the 90s as well as the new ones. He loves talking to them everyday and really is shocked by how many people look back on Goosebumps nostalgically.

Next, Stine revealed that there is absolutely a Goosebumps movie in the works. RL Stine, himself, is going to be a character in the movie, and Jack Black is the frontrunner to play him. The story revolves around Stine and depicts him having to stop writing because all of his monsters are escaping from the books. He revealed (spoiler alert?!) that they ask him to write another book to save the day. He also said he hopes to have a really big announcement about Fear Street very soon!

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