Hi! I'm R.L. Stine and my job is to terrify kids. You might know me as the bestselling author of Goosebumps, but you can call be Bob.

Here's proof that it's me: https://twitter.com/RL_Stine/status/392749166553612289

I'm the bestselling author of more than three hundred books, including the bestselling Goosebumps Series. You might recognize me from the opening credits of the TV show: http://youtu.be/-4Y3n3ysVLQ

Ask me anything!

Comments: 6956 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

super_slayer2999 karma

Why did most of the Choose Your Adventures end with my characters' death? Was I just not good at making decisions?

RL__Stine3883 karma

You were TERRIBLE at making decisions.

jsto342657 karma

Mr. Stine, I was/am a huge fan of Goosebumps growing up! I read all the books at a young age. Don't really have a question, but a funny story. When I was 5, I had a recurring nightmare of Slappy the Dummy killing me. This went on for about a month until one night I acually recognized that I was dreaming. In my dream, I went out to my garage to grab a baseball bat right before I unwrapped Slappy, and when I did, I smashed him to bits. I have had lucid dreams ever since. Thank you for that.

Edit: I've had a couple of replies now saying, "I had a dream like that too!", my dream was fucked up and I'm going to explain it to you. I remember it so clearly even though it was 16-17 years ago.

I was watching tv with my younger brother. A Trix commerical was on when a warning came up. It was a very scary warning, recalling Slappy (he apparently was being sold to children). Just as this warning happened, my mom called me over.

"I have a very special surprise for you, Justin"

It was a tiny coffin. I was scared to open it, but I did anyway. The second I did, Slappy lunged at me and choked me to death. This happened every single night for a month. I was so afraid to go to sleep because I knew what was going to happen. One night, I realized that I was dreaming though so when my mom called me over, I told her to hold on and went to my garage, grabbed my baseball bat from my little league games, went back inside and opened the coffin. The second he lunged at me I smashed his face in over and over and over and then I woke up. Been lucid dreaming ever since!

RL__Stine3344 karma

I am very worried about you.

Katelyn892591 karma

I wasn't allowed to read your books as a kid, but I still did in secret. What would you say to 8-year-old me if you could go back in time?

RL__Stine3642 karma

Hand over your lunch money.

zrearick12473 karma

Hi, Mr. Stine! I wrote my Master's thesis on the post-modern approach to gender in the original Goosebumps series. My argument, in response to accusations by critics like Vicki Coppell that Goosebumps is sexist, was that the series purposely represents its "types" (Annoying Younger Sibling, Scaredy-Cat, Bully, etc.) approximately equally along gender lines, essentially implying that there is no "one thing" it means to be masculine or feminine. Is this type of thing something you were conscious of when writing the original books, the idea that giving girls the chance to act like boys and boys the chance to act like girls would be a progressive move, especially in a genre that often promotes gender essentialism? Here's a link to the thesis itself: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxy37lGzuTFrMUFqLWU5cWxnRkk/edit?usp=sharing

RL__Stine2985 karma

My main aim was to present girls and boys as equal. They all had an equal ability to run from the monsters. I wonder how many Masters Theses have been written on Goosebumps.

OctopusSlacks2184 karma

Did it make you happy knowing you deprived me and countless others sleep for weeks?

RL__Stine2916 karma

Yes, it did.

FocusFailure2138 karma

Wow, Goosebumps basically paved the way to my future love of horror. I just finished Red Rain (which I enjoyed) and my only question is, What made you decide to write an adult horror novel after so many years of scaring kids?

RL__Stine3391 karma

So many of my original readers are now in their 20s and 30s. I wanted to write a book for them.

Christianmustang1841 karma

Thank you so much for the childhood memories! Which book would you say was your favorite to write?

RL__Stine2722 karma

The Slappy books are most fun to write because I get to be rude and insulting.

DieKnowSoar1794 karma

No question, just wanted to say thank you. As a kid, your books brought me so many hours of enjoyment. I love them and am glad to say that now my son is at an age where he can enjoy them as well. He reads 30 min- 1 hour every day for school and its always Goosebumps, Goosebumps, Goosebumps.

Also, sorry about all the Ermahgerds about to come you way.

RL__Stine2269 karma

Thanks for the kind words. I love Ehrmagerds!

Klass1667 karma

Please tell us about the artist who made the covers for the Goosebumps series. :D

RL__Stine2474 karma

Tim Jacobus painted the first 67 covers. He really captured the humor/horror balance.

zgoldenone1644 karma

How do you feel about the '90s television series that was based off your book series, Goosebumps? I loved their cheesiness and found the low special effects and make-up to be even more enjoyable. Also, How do you feel about popular electronic music artist RL GRIME's name / pseudonym?

Just wanted to say, I'm a big fan and my library at home has a whole shelf of Goosebumps.

RL__Stine2664 karma

R.L. Grime and I keep in touch. I do a voice-over every year for his Halloween mix tape.

alextoremember1363 karma

First of all, thank you for the great contributions to the world. Your werewolf books/episodes are why I, a grown man, am still freaked out by wolves.

Just a couple things about the TV series, is the legend true about there being a "lost" Haunted Mask 3 episode of Goosebumps? Also will the full series dvd set eventually be available in the U.S.?

RL__Stine2295 karma

There are no lost episodes of Goosebumps. I'd love to see a big boxed set, but that's entirely up to Scholastic. No one asks me anything.

itzyaboijohn1111 karma

I grew up on your books. You are one of the many inspirations of mine that have had a part in my pursuit of a degree in English/literature. Question: Which book, to you, was your "best" work (from the goosebumps collection)?

RL__Stine1583 karma

Best work? Maybe a recent one-- Wanted: The Haunted Mask. I'm very proud of that one, even though it's a sequel.

bassman6511080 karma

If there is one book that you wish you wrote yourself instead of the original author, what would it be?

Also, what, in your opinion is the scariest book you have ever read?

RL__Stine2073 karma

Harry Potter?

HempHouse932 karma

What is your favorite horror novel? I'll read it next!

RL__Stine2082 karma

Have you read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury?

Damadar800 karma

I rather enjoyed Goosebumps as a kid. The Monster Blood books, specifically.

Did you write all of the GooseBumps books yourself, or like K.A. Applegate, act as more of a supervisor to other ghost writers?

(The Cataluna chronicles were also really nice.)

RL__Stine1601 karma

I wrote all the GB books myself, believe it or not. Sometimes I had writers help me with the outlines. But all books were by me.

112233445566778899769 karma

Your books addressed a lot of things that aren't really on the kid level. There was a lot of death and dying in especially the fear street series. Was it difficult to make the horror genre accessible to a young crowd (since Goosebumps started for the fairly young reader?)

RL__Stine1622 karma

Hey, no one EVER dies in a Goosebumps book. But I enjoyed killing teenagers. My new teen novel, A Midsummer Night's Scream, is pretty gruesome.

MsTuffsy676 karma

What was the scariest moment in your life?

RL__Stine1724 karma

When I lost my 3-yr-old son at the NY Auto Show.

yummymilktea674 karma

Dang! I used to read your Goosebumps books all the time O_O

I just wanted to ask, if you could make one of your monsters come to life and terrorize your enemies, which would it be?

RL__Stine1477 karma

Huh? Do I have enemies?

uberlad624 karma

What's your very best life advice?

RL__Stine1923 karma

Don't eat the yellow snow.

NickLeoG624 karma

Hey Bob. I am an 18 year old here with a little story to tell you. When I was 14 years old my Dad decided to have me put into isolation for several years. Iwasnt allowed outside and it was often because of his anxiety and such. Well one day he came back home and gave me a HUGE collection of Goosebumps and I read these books repeatedly over and over again just to pass the time. Im in college now, and I hope you realize that without your books I wouldve never came out of the isolation with the sanity I have now. Guitar hero and Grand Theft Auto will never fill the void that I had. And your books did just that. I have no questions, only praise for you. I love your books, and thank you for not making my childhood/teenage years such a bore. Thank you a million times :)

For those of you wanting more info, feel free to look and ask questions!

RL__Stine624 karma

Thank you a million times for sharing that.

SiegmeyerofCatarina573 karma

Where did you get the idea for the dad that becomes a plant and has a clone? That was probably my favorite upon a recent Netflix rewatch. Thanks!

RL__Stine1156 karma

It was inspired by Little Shop of Horrors. I have a cactus in my office named Audrey.

way_fairer476 karma

Mr. Stine, your Goosebumps books kept me up late on many nights as a child. I must have read at least 50 of them.

Q: How the heck did you think of names for all those characters? Do the names mean anything special?

RL__Stine1559 karma

A lot of the character names came from my son's school directory.

adventuretime471 karma

First off, I wanted to tell you that the Goosebumps and Fear Street books are one of the reasons I decided to pursue writing. Thank you for crafting such entertaining and terrifying stories that inspired me then and through adulthood.

That said, some of my favorite titles are Hide and Shriek, One Day at Horrorland, and The Fear Street Saga Trilogy. I still re-read each of them once a year.

I was curious about how the Fear Street Saga came about. That particular series is definitely a departure from the other books you've written. There are certainly some darker moments there too. Did you always have the origin of Fear Street in the back of your mind, or did it come at a later date?

Again, thank you so much for doing this. I could truly never thank you enough. I can only hope that one day my stories are as beloved as the ones you have created.

RL__Stine659 karma

After several Fear Street books, it seemed appropriate to explain how that street became so cursed. Good luck with your writing.

puredemo430 karma

Did you ever meet or hang out with Christopher Pike in real life?

RL__Stine892 karma

I spent one very weird day with Christopher Pike back in the 90's.

lawlshane399 karma

Can you come to Toronto so I can hug you? Monster Blood II is my favourite.

RL__Stine938 karma

Yes, I would come to Toronto for a hug. Maybe sometime soon.

lukenog380 karma

Oh my god! You were my childhood. My question is, when writing the You Choose the Scare books did you ever have trouble keeping everything in order? It always seemed so complicated to make sure all the pages are in check, or was that an editors job? Also I write horror stories and am currently studying creative writing at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and you were a huge inspiration to me.

RL__Stine639 karma

I kept a numbered chart on a legal-size notepad. I filled it in as I wrote each page.

martymcqueen369 karma

Mr. Stine – I first want to thank you. My younger brother and I didn’t get along much growing up, and I always had trouble getting through to him. He was very quiet and not forthcoming with his interests, and we could never really bond. When he first discovered Goosebumps, it was the one thing I could understand he found engaging, and through your series we were able to communicate with each other as we read the books together. He’s now a grown man living and working 2,000 miles away, but I still check in with him every few weeks to see what kind of horror books or movies he’s discovered since we last spoke, because he still has the passion for it that began with your Goosebumps series. So thank you for your work, it has been integral to the closeness my brother and I have shared for the last twenty years.

Now on to my question – I’ve always been curious as to how someone writing “childrens horror” so-to-speak knows where the line is between too much for his audience and just horrifying enough to not scar a developing mind. Can you elaborate on your process as far as making sure the horror is still suitable for a young audience? What advice would you give to authors who want to work in this genre of literature?

Thank you again so much for doing this and for all the joy you’ve brought my family!

RL__Stine872 karma

The line I draw is to never let the story get too REAL. The kids have to know it's a fantasy and could never happen to them.

Frajer339 karma

What happened in your life that led you to deciding that scaring children was your life's work?

RL__Stine1208 karma

I needed to make a living.

visindahouse333 karma

Hi! I'm one your biggest fans

I love your book

Can you tell me how did you get your ideas?

And does that relate to your childhood ?

RL__Stine871 karma

I was a very fearful child. That's why I stayed in my room writing. Guess it helped me later in life.

Klass278 karma

Have you had any person supernatural experiences, either before or after Goosebumps?

RL__Stine933 karma

Once when I was an editor at Scholastic, I was sitting at my desk when I felt myself rising up from my body. I floated up to the ceiling and looked down on myself sitting at my desk below. It lasted only a few seconds and never happened again. No drugs were involved.

cshaxercs193 karma

1st off, let me say I love your books. Your books are honestly one of the few books I read in my childhood for leisure fun!

I guess I’ll keep it simple and short.

1) Since you write stories that are in the “horror” section, what book and movie terrifies you?
2) What terrifies you in real life?

;]

RL__Stine647 karma

The scariest book to me? Maybe Pet Semetary.

johnmenchaca193 karma

Hey RL absolutely LOVE everything you've done with Goosebumps over the past 20 years. The Haunted Mask is my favorite VHS I own to date!

My question to you is what is your all time favorite horror movie?

RL__Stine494 karma

All-time fav? Maybe the original Frankenstein? Maybe The Shining? Maybe Evil Dead II?

herpderpatitis184 karma

Thanks for doing this, your books are very nostalgic to me. I'll just say in 2nd grade you got me interested in reading when my friend started to read them all the time, then I started to as well. I'm wondering if any of the stories in the books have reflected any personal events in your life.

RL__Stine385 karma

The books have the suburban neighborhood where I grew up (Columbus, Ohio). But I never based a character on anyone real.

pistachiopaul163 karma

Have you ever checked out the Blogger Beware blog (bloggerbeware.com)? If so, any thoughts on their (comedic) critical analysis of your work?

RL__Stine502 karma

They sure are critical, aren't they? Cringe cringe.

tabbyh156 karma

What other genres do you enjoy writing?

If you could meet any other author, living or dead, who would you like to meet?

Thank you for your books! I've enjoyed them over and over through the years. :)

RL__Stine634 karma

I'm so lucky. I've met almost all of the writers I'd like to meet, including Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury. How lucky is that!

justinw_132 karma

Outside of my parents, you might be one of the most influential people in my life. You're a huge part of the reason I spend a good chunk of my free time these days writing, and you may be solely responsible for my penchant for horror, both written and filmed, that's carried throughout my life. I still remember deciding I must finally have been growing up -- in the fifth grade -- because I started reading more Fear Street than Goosebumps. In short, you helped guide my childhood in some very interesting and significant ways, and I'm here to leech off you yet again with a standard, simple question.

What's the best advice on writing you have ever received?

RL__Stine452 karma

You won't believe this, but here in its entirety is the best writing advice I ever got (written by an editor at the top of my manuscript): MORE LORE.

Oblong_Cobra106 karma

Mr. Stine, thanks for doing this AMA. I was a huge fan of the Goosebumps books, and the Fear Street books, bit that's not what I want to ask you about. Can you talk to us a little bit about your work on Eureka's Castle?

RL__Stine233 karma

I was head writer of Eureeka's Castle. My staff and I wrote all the puppet episodes. We did 100 shows. A lot of fun.

TheyCallMe-JT91 karma

Hey, Bob! Love your books. Were have you ever gotten any mail from parents insulting you on giving their children nightmares? What's the funniest contact you've gotten on the topic of your books?

RL__Stine431 karma

One of the funniest letters I received, from a girl: Dear, R.L. Stine, I'm having trouble keeping up with all your books. Do you think you could stop writing for a while?

BromeoAndCooliet74 karma

Hey Bob! I loved Slappy. He still scares the hell out of me. I saw an episode on TV the other day and it still creeped me out. I also remember going as the Haunted Mask for halloween in '95!

I'd like to know more about Slappy... where did the inspiration for him come from?

RL__Stine158 karma

From an old British horror movie called Dead of Night.

MClaw59 karma

My son wants to know if you have any new books you're working on or that are coming out. (He inherited all of my and my brothers books!)

RL__Stine163 karma

I'm working on a GB for next year called Zombie Halloween. Guess what it's about?

WifeAggro57 karma

Hello R.L. I grew up on your books and I could not wait until my kids were old enough to read them as well. They love them too. I never forgot reading the Goosebumps series, especially the book about the camera and the creepy photos! My question is where did your inspiration for the scary series for children come from? Did you set out to write a children’s series or did it just happen?

RL__Stine132 karma

I set out to write for kids. I love scaring kids!

PesciOO746 karma

Hey! I grew up reading your books and really appreciate your work. My question is what are you reading today and what are some recent favourites?

RL__Stine78 karma

I'm reading the new Jeffrey Deaver novel. I read a lot of thrillers and mysteries.

GnarlsBronson18 karma

Mr. Stine! Two questions for you!

  • What spooked you as a kid?
  • How should I celebrate Halloween?

Thanks!

RL__Stine75 karma

I think you should celebrate Halloween by reading my new teen horror novel, A Midsummer Night's Scream.

cabbage1615 karma

Hi MR. Stine I love your stores! I have been watching Goosebumps with my little brother to get in the Halloween spirit :) I must say your introductions to the episodes are top notch :)

My question is when did you realize you wanted to write mostly scary stories?

RL__Stine49 karma

I wrote joke books and humor for years. An editor asked me to write a scary teen novel--Blind Date-- and I've been scary ever since.

sxprado12 karma

First of all I just want to say thank you. Thank you for writing such amazing books to read when I was in the 3rd grade. I came from mexico at such a young age that the transition to the usa was rough and very lonely. I was able to read English very well but when it came to speaking I was a mess so I isolated myself with reading as much as possible and checking out goosebumps books whenever I could. So for that thank you so much Mr. Stine!!

p.s. My top favorite are "Say cheese and die", "Deep trouble", "Revenge of the lawn gnomes" and "night of the living dummy"

RL__Stine25 karma

Thank you. You're all too nice. I really appreciate all the kind words from everyone.

theswampmonster11 karma

Mr. Stine, thank you for getting me interested in the horror genre as a kid! It's been a long happy love ever since.

Is there any subject that you wish you could write a new Goosebumps book about these days? Something you feel like you "missed"?

RL__Stine31 karma

I feel like I've written every story one can possibly write. Sometimes I wonder where the next plot is going to come from!

AMA_requester8 karma

Having created your own successful book series, what is your opinion on the likes of Twilight and The Mortal Instruments?

RL__Stine31 karma

I'm not a greedy person. I love to see other authors have huge hits. I think it's so great that the richest woman in the world is a children's author.

KellyCommaRoy8 karma

Hi Bob, have you ever thought about getting Goosebumps re-packaged into big volumes? I have a certain nostalgia about the old, cheap paperbacks but I'd love to be able to put a few high-quality leatherbound volumes on my kids' shelf when they're old enough. And please keep the old illustrations to introduce each story!

RL__Stine15 karma

Ain't gonna happen. Nice idea, though.

ddlovatolover8 karma

What's it like knowing you're such an amazing author and that people all over read your stories?

RL__Stine14 karma

I feel very lucky to be doing what I always dreamed of doing.

nickvicious7 karma

R.L. Stine, I just want to say you were a HUGE part of my childhood and I'm thrilled that you are doing this AMA. If I'm not mistaken, it was you who inspired me to write my first story as a child which, not surprisingly, was horror. Might I ask if you were inspired by any horror authors/directors etc. as a child? And if so, who?

RL__Stine20 karma

Ray Bradbury and Rod Serling are two of my biggest influences. I was a sci-fi freak as a kid.

couldfillabook6 karma

Hi, Bob. How did you feel about doing the wraparound segments for some of the Goosebumps episodes? Also, being as objective as you can be, can you tell us what your favorite episode was? Which one, if any, nailed the tone you were going for with your books?

RL__Stine18 karma

I loved doing the GB intros. Wish I was better at it. Best episode? Either The Haunted Mask or A Night in Terror Tower.

Eyegore1385 karma

Hello Mr. Stine, I am writing for my daughter and she would like to ask if you plan on writing anymore of the Goosebumps Horrorland books?

RL__Stine12 karma

No. I'm writing a series now called Goosebumps: Most Wanted.

RoyCisneros4 karma

How are you holding up financially? what were you at financially at your peak?

Before your first goosebump book was released, how many did you have written? How long did it take you to write more?

what is your top 3 favorite goosebump covers?

Also i purchased some goosebump walkie talkies the other day at a yard sale. bought them for nostalgic purposes. what was your favorite non-book goosebump product?

RL__Stine10 karma

Thank you for worrying about my finances, Roy. Think you could lend me a few bucks... just till I get back on my feet?