Stephen King

R. L. Stine, Master of Fear

The bestselling author you read as a kid on how he’s made scary stories his life’s work, as told to Jen Doll.

(Image credit: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0.)

All I ever wanted to be was a writer. I started when I was 9. I’d be in my room writing little joke magazines, and I would bring them to school. I was a shy, fearful kid, and it was my way of getting attention. People always ask, “Did you have any teachers who encouraged you?” and the right answer is, “Yes, I did.” But I didn’t. They begged me to stop!

These days, I read the paper and get to work at about 9:30 every morning in my apartment. It’s the world’s best commute. I write 2,000 words and usually finish by 2:30 p.m. I walk the dog, go to the gym, and take a nap. That’s it. It’s a full life.

The challenge is coming up with new ideas. I’ve done every scary thing you can possibly do. I met Stephen King at the Edgar Awards and he said, “You’ve taken every single amusement park plot and haven’t left any for anyone else.”

I’m lucky. When I need a new idea, I get one. But it’s mysterious to me. People say, “R.L. Stine has the formula.” I wish I knew the formula. I don’t think there is one.

About every Goosebumps book has to take place in some kid’s backyard, or the kitchen, or the basement. It’s scarier for kids if it starts in their own house or neighborhood. Some writers make a mistake; they want to do something creepy, so they pick a huge dark castle in Europe, but kids don’t relate to that.

I don’t get scared. I watched this horror movie, It Follows. It just made me laugh; they all do. I think horror is funny. That’s the combination kids like: books that are funny and scary at the same time, but not too scary.

I don’t read much horror. A few Stephen King books are absolutely brilliant. I think Misery is the best book ever written about writers and editors. Pet Sematary, I’ve stolen that plot about six times. I had to—it’s just so good.

Jack Black plays R.L. Stine in the Goosebumps movie. Watch it for a cameo from Stine himself.

Planning a book is the only time I get stuck. I can do a Goosebumps outline, which is 25 to 30 chapters,…

Watch a graphic and terrifying new teaser for Stephen King’s The Mist

While weather-related incidents are nothing to scoff at, they can be nothing short of terrifying when given a Stephen King twist — and as you can see from the trailer above, The Mist aims to deliver on that promise.

The Spike TV series is an adaptation of King’s short story of the same name, which follows the story of a group of Maine residents trapped in a supermarket, where they’re surrounded by a deadly mist. Of course, seeing as how the trailer (aptly titled “Destruction”) features scenes of characters in…

The Dark Tower trailer journeys to Stephen King’s strange new world

The Dark Tower trailerPinterest
Sony Pictures

Forgetting the face of your father …

In the realm of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, that phrase means to forget one’s heritage, one’s history, one’s … foundation.

The starting point.

With today’s trailer reveal, we are at the starting point for the film itself, out Aug. 4, and starring Idris Elba as Roland the gunslinger, the last of a group of six-shooting knights in a blighted, apocalyptic world.

He’s trying to reach a mystical tower that binds all space and time, but a demonic magic-wielder known as The Man in Black (played by Matthew McConaughey) is also pursuing the structure.

Their shortcut runs straight through our time and place — and to complete the journey, each of the men needs Jake Chambers (played by Tom Taylor), a boy from New York City who has world-shaking psychic abilities. Have a look …

Jake’s psychic power is known as “the shine,” which can either strengthen the Tower or help collapse it — and it’s also a phrase that should be familiar to any King fan. In fact, the movie has a sly homage to The Shining hidden within it. (There’s also a hint of Pennywise from It.)