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Writing Scary Stories & Horror for Kids: 4 Lessons from Goosebumps Author R.L. Stine

There is a fine line between scary and funny when it comes to clowns, ventriloquist dummies and other creepy ghouls, but author R.L. Stine heads straight for the dark side. For more than 25 years, Stine has been writing horror for kids around the world with his Goosebumps series, which has sold over 350 million copies in 32 languages.

From the age of nine, Stine knew he wanted to be a writer. Initially, he dreamed of writing humor—not horror—on the old typewriter he found in his attic. While attending Ohio State, he became editor for a humor magazine at the college for three years. When he moved to New York, he fulfilled his dream to write full-time by writing fake celebrity interviews for a fan magazine where he learned to write fast and use his imagination. Soon after he landed a job at Scholastic where he shifted gears to write for younger audiences. For sixteen years he worked as the editor for the kids’ humor magazine, Bananas.

 

 

Stine’s big genre change happened when a friend of his at Scholastic asked him if he ever thought about writing horror for young adults. He hadn’t. She suggested he write a book for this audience with the title Blind Date. Four months later, the book became a bestseller. More books followed, along with a new series, Fear Street. He found some success with this audience, but when it was suggested that he write horror for kids—younger kids, ages 7-12—Goosebumps was born.

The first few books in the series were published without much hype or marketing power behind them. Sales remained flat for 3–4 months before word of mouth kicked in. Stine called it the secret kids’ network. Kids started talking about the books with their friends, sales shot up, and the rest is history. He continues to write and publish for this series, putting out new books each year.

Here are some quotes from Stine along with thoughts and insights in writing horror for young readers as well as writing in general.

“When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me and try to put those feelings into books.” 

Stine grew up a fearful child. He draws on his memories of what scared him to create the stories for Goosebumps. Think back to your childhood. What scared you? Dig deep into the depths of your imagination to find those moments and remember the emotions and feelings associated with those situations and bring them into your writing. 

“My thinking is that these books are entertainment. I’m very careful to keep reality out of it. The real world is much scarier than these books. So, I don’t do divorce, even. I don’t do drugs. I don’t do child abuse. I don’t do all the really serious things that would interfere with the entertainment.”

Adults and kids read horror books for the adrenaline and emotional rush that comes from being scared. When writing for young readers, Stine’s one rule is that it can’t be too realistic. It’s important to him that his readers know his stories are fantasy and can’t really happen. If you are writing scary stories for children, spend time in your creative mind and develop situations and storylines where you take your reader to dark and frightening places, but nothing too close home. Because as Stine says, real life is scary enough. 

“It’s my job, too, to keep up with pop culture and what the kids are into because I don’t want to sound like an old man trying to write for kids. I spend a lot of my time spying on them.” 

Successful children’s authors understand that their young readers are smart. Kids want to read books where the author understands their world and the issues they face. Technology and social media along make life for young people today very different than it was for previous generations. As a writer it is up to you to keep up with current culture and write stories that resonate and connect with kids today. 

“If you do enough planning before you start to write, there’s no way you can have writer’s block.”

Stine is a prolific writer with hundreds of published books. He has a system that works for him and allows him to put out 4 to 6 new books each year. He is a plotter who creates a complete chapter-by-chapter outline of each book. When it comes time to write the book, he’s already done the important thinking and knows everything that is going to happen. This allows him to relax and enjoy the writing. As writers, we all have our own styles and systems and approaches to the writing process. To be successful and achieve the goals you have set out for yourself, it is essential that you find what works for you. If you consistently miss the mark or your productivity is not what you want it to be, then you should examine how you approach your writing life. Maybe it is time to switch from being a “Panster” to being more of a planner like Stine.

By Kerrie Flanagan
Source: writersdigest.com

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Halloween Apps and eBooks for Kids #FED_ebooks #free #apps #Halloween #ebook

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Apps and eBooks to Get Your Kids in the Halloween Spirit

 

The App Store is booming with fun and creative apps, ideal for keeping your kids entertained for hours. With Halloween just a few weeks away, here are a few apps for you to load on your smartphone to get your family in the Halloween spirit!

 

Scrap It: Halloween HD – FREEEbook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market

Scrap It: Halloween HD is a free app, allowing you to upload photos and create a Halloween-themed e-scrapbook. You can pick through hundreds of photo effects and choose from stickers, text fonts and a variety of themed background images. Once you’re finished, you can preview your scrapbook as an image slideshow, or even upload it online to share with friends and family.

 Halloween Card Creator – FREE

Halloween Card Creator allows you to create fun and spooky Halloween cards to share with your friends and family. Cards are easily customizable with fun graphics and background, and you can publish the final product online. For $0.99, you can upgrade the free version to include more clip art options.

 Scary Sounds – FREE

Scary Sounds, a free app, lets you create your own haunted house of horror! You can choose from a sound bank of scary sounds, or even create a combination of sounds to loop. Sounds include growling, laugh, howl, screech, wicked witch laugh and wolves howling. Attach your smartphone to a speaker and create a spooky ambiance for your next Halloween party.

 Carve a Pumpkin from Parents Magazine – FREE

Carve a Pumpkin allows your kids who want to try out carving a pumpkin before attempting the real thing. Your kids are able to pick from a library of crazy eye, nose and mouth shapes, or you can carve your own jack-o-lantern. It’s fun, interactive, and easy to use. Once your kid has finished, they can add their own message and share their creation online.

 Great Halloween Recipes – $0.99

Great Halloween Recipes allows party hosts to discover new and tasty recipes to help you make the most of the Halloween theme. You can find many interesting treat ideas including appetizers, main entrees, mocktails and dessert ideas.

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market Great Halloween iBooks:

Franklin’s Halloween – iBookstore ($5.99)  Franklin and his friends are excited about the upcoming Halloween costume party. With tricks and treats and a flying ghost, Franklin and his friends enjoy a night of mystery fun.

The Little Engine That Could Throw a Halloween Jamboree! – iBookstore ($0.99)  The Little Engine That Could celebrates Halloween by throwing a jamboree full of fun games and contests.

Disney Princess: Sweet and Spooky Halloween – iBookstore ($3.99)  It’s Halloween and the Disney Princesses are celebrating this sweet and spooky season. Cinderella carves pumpkins, Ariel dresses up in costume and Belle explores the creepy corners of the Beast’s castle.

Count Dagmar – iBookstore ($6.99)  Help Count Dagmar, a vegetarian vampire, get ready for his party. Count fuzzy bats, silly monsters and friendly ghosts in this delightfully wacky and sweet interactive book.

Five Little Pumpkins – iBookstore ($5.99)  Light up pumpkins, watch ghosts fly and discover hidden animations on every page. Toddlers enjoy the rhythmic story and vibrant illustrations.

Source: Huffingtonpost.com By: Winston Sih  

 

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Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

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