R.L. Stine Writing Quotes

Described as the ‘Stephen King of children’s literature’, R.L. Stine is one of the most prolific authors of children’s horror novels. In this article, we explore his insights and advice on writing through quotes from several of his interviews. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The reality of a writer’s life
  • Advice on what it takes to write a bestseller
  • How to turn fear into success
  • His writing process

If you want to learn how to write from R.L. Stine, check out his writing course on MasterClass. Learn more about MasterClass courses here.

If you want to learn more about R.L. Stine, check out his quick biography.

Quotes on the Writing Life

1. I knew when I was nine that I wanted to be a writer. I don’t know why it sounded so interesting, but it did. – The Verge Interview

2. I always knew I could make a living as a writer; it’s only thing that I’m really competent at. I wanted to be a cartoonist but I really can’t draw at all. – The Village Voice Interview

3. I just love to write. I love the feeling of putting stories together and coming up with new, surprising ways to say things. – Family Education Interview

4. I like being in my room, writing books and not collaborating. Collider Interview

5. I never planned to be a kids’ writer. I always wrote these funny novels for adults, but no one ever wanted them. I never wanted to be scary, either. I only wanted to be funny. – The Verge Interview

6. I always tell kids- I always tell them there’s no way to plan your life. You never know where you’re going to land. There are always going to be all kinds of surprises. – NPR Interview

7. Most people know when to quit. I’ve never done anything else. I’ve never had a real job. I just love it. Collider Interview

8. A friend of mine once asked me, “How long can you go without writing? Writers don’t retire do they?” I said, “Well, maybe 10 days.” – The Verge Interview

9. I start to feel uncomfortable if I’m not writing, after like two weeks. – The Verge Interview

10. I don’t think authors retire. I think of Robert B. Parker, who just dropped dead on the keyboard. I think that’s the way to go. – GEN Interview

Quotes on R.L. Stine’s Writing Process

11. I do a chapter-by-chapter outline for every book that I write. I really believe in outlines. If you have an outline, you can’t get stuck. You know where you’re going, you know where the ending is. – Entertainment Weekly Interview

12. For all my books, I always come up with the ending first – because if I know where I am heading, the plotting and writing are easier. It puts me in control. Then my main job is make sure that I distract and fool you enough that you don’t know where you are going and you can just take the ride. – Waikato Herald Interview

13. It’s funny because I never really learned to type. I’m totally left-handed, and I just started typing with my pointer finger, nothing else, just one finger, not even two. And I’ve now written 300 books on this finger. – The Strand Magazine Interview

14. I have a couple hours of writing, every day. It’s the best part of my day. Collider Interview

15. I write every day from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – The Village Voice Interview

16. It gave me so much time to write. It helped with my schedule because I write 2,000 words a day, which is about ten pages (On writing during the pandemic). – GQ Interview

17. I love the writing part. All these people that say writing is hard, I never know what they’re talking about. Everyone says, “Oh, writing is so hard.” I don’t think it’s hard. It’s fun. – The Verge Interview

18. When I’m on a writers’ panel or something and these guys say, “Oh, writing is so hard. My kids aren’t allowed anywhere in the room when I’m writing.” I hate that. I just hate that. – GEN Interview

19. I think writers just have their own speed, and I don’t think slowing down or speeding up or changing the process would really change the quality of the writing. I really don’t. – The Verge Interview

Quotes on Writing a Best Seller

20. I work very hard to keep these books from being too real. The real world is much scarier than what I write about. My books are just meant to entertain … I don’t do drugs. I don’t do child abuse. I don’t really ever do divorce.” – The Strand Magazine Interview

21. When I write, I try to picture kids that are the age of who I’m writing for. So, if I’m writing a teen book or a YA book, like Fear Street, I have teen faces in my mind. I try to picture them as teenagers. And then, when I’m writing for younger kids, I picture younger kids. Collider Interview

22. I never give advice to young writers. They don’t need someone to tell them to write something every day. The one thing I will say is: have fun with it. – GQ Interview

23. I don’t try to put any messages in these books: the only lesson is to run. Adults have the right to read something just for fun, and I’ve always thought kids had the same right. Why can’t a kid just pick up a book and be entertained? – The Guardian Interview

24. I say to kids, “I’ve written 330 books, not a single one from my heart. Not one! They’re all written to entertain an audience. – GEN Interview

25. When you’re writing a story, you’re just writing a story. It all comes as a surprise. All these parents at book signings come up and say, “You changed my kid’s life. They didn’t read before you.”- GEN Interview

Quotes on Fear

26. I was a very shy kid – very shy – and not social at all. Maybe this is one reason I just stayed in my room, writing this stuff. I would bring it in to school and try to get attention from the other kids. – Reading Rockets Interview

27. That’s a painful way to go through childhood, I think, having all these fears and being very shy. That was hard. But in a way, it’s kind of lucky. It helped me out later, because now, when I write these scary books for kids, I can think back to that feeling of panic. I can remember what it felt like, and then I can bring that feeling to my books. – Reading Rockets Interview

28. I want the scares to be fun, not disturbing. I often use the example of a roller coaster. If you listen to people riding a roller coaster they scream and they laugh. They are scared, but rationally they know that they are safe. – Waikato Herald Interview

29. I use humour a lot: whenever I think a scene is getting too scary for younger kids I throw in something funny, so that it doesn’t become too intense. – The Guardian Interview

30. My one rule is that they have to know that what’s happening in this book can’t happen. They have to know it’s a fantasy. And then I can make it pretty scary. There aren’t any real-world scares in the book. There’s no kidnapping, or divorce, or anything. No real-world stuff. It’s an escape from real-world stuff. – GEN Interview

Quotes on Getting Ideas

31. I don’t start with an idea. I start with a good title, and that leads me to an idea. – Entertainment Weekly Interview

32. It’s always a miracle to me when suddenly I have an idea for a new one (a book) – NPR Interview

Quotes on Reading

33. I read all the time. I’m a very big reader. I read every day. Collider Interview

34. My absolute favourite writer is Ray Bradbury. As a child, he showed me the vast world of creative writing and imagination and turned me into an avid reader. – Waikato Herald Interview

35. I’m more proud of the kids who learned to read on my books and the kids who didn’t like to read, and then discovered my books and did like to read. Collider Interview

36. You can’t really force kids to read something they don’t want. – The Verge Interview

Bonus Quote

37. Writing for kids, everyone says: “Oh, it must keep you young.” That’s a total lie. It keeps you feeling really old. – The Guardian Interview

Further Reading

If you loved the quotes by R.L. Stine, check out the huge collection of writing quotes below. The collection features the best quotes by some of the most famous writers such as Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Margaret Atwood among many more.

The quotes are full of valuable advice for any aspiring writer.

If you are struggling to create a business around your writing and need some encouragement, read the quotes below.