The Harvey Stanbrough Audio Lecture Series

These are professional, in-depth audio courses from a National Book Award nominee. See the current course topics below in the Complete Course Descriptions.

These courses are for writers who are serious about the craft. They’re based on the more popular writing seminars I’ve taught over the past 30 years. Take a chance. You won’t regret it.

Or go ahead and keep shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars to the shysters out there who don’t know the difference between a gerund and a potato or whose by-phrase is “Well, I can’t explain it, but I know it when I see it.”

After you’ve bought a course, you can listen to it at your own pace and come back to it as often as you like. Each topic consists of a few to several lecture-quality audio sessions, and each audio session is 10 to 15 minutes long. Some courses have handouts. I will email those to participants as they sign up.

Note: Unfortunately, I cannot license these Courses for collective use by writers’ groups or organizations. If you want any of them, please order them for your individual use. By requesting a course, you agree not to share these copyrighted materials with anyone other than your significant other. Thank you.

How to Sign Up

1. EMAIL HARVEYSTANBROUGH@GMAIL.COM (please put AUDIO COURSE SERIES in the subject line) and provide the following information:

  • Name
  • E-mail address
  • Name of Course(s) you are signing up for.


  • To pay with your PayPal account, send the fee to
  • To pay via credit card, email me and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice. (You don’t have to have a PayPal account to pay via PayPal with a credit card.)
  • To pay by personal check, make your check payable to Harvey Stanbrough and mail it to PO Box 604, Saint David AZ 85630-0604.

3. I’LL EMAIL YOU THE ACTUAL COURSE(S) you purchased as .mpg files. From that point on you can listen to them at your own pace and come back as often as you want. I’ll also email any handouts in pdf format that go along with the Courses you’ve ordered.

NOTE: I offer these lectures only as conscious, critical mind exercises to enable you to absorb the information. What you learn here will seep into your subconscious, creative mind and flow smoothly from your fingertips as your story unfolds.

Course Descriptions

Course 1 — Writing Realistic Dialogue (10 audio sessions) — $50 — If you want to learn to write natural, non-linear dialogue like a pro, this is the only course you need.

Introduction. Punctuation for Writers. Specific uses of particular marks to create a desired effect in the reader. (You’ve never heard punctuation presented this way before.) The elements of dialogue: one part quoted material, two parts narrative. Character identification through dialogue. Revealing the character of the character. Bringing characters to life through dialogue. Spontaneity, contractions, catch words and phrases. Interruptions, questions. Colorful, memorable dialogue. Learn to read your work aloud. Influencing the mood and physiology of the reader (conveying emotion through dialogue). Reaction of reader to longer, shorter sentences, more punctuated, less punctuated. The effect on the reader of the sounds of letters and words. Reader speed = physiological reaction. Using punctuation to affect reader speed, pacing and emotion. Conveying emotion directly through punctuation. Four specific techniques for conveying emotion with pacing and paragraph construction. Includes pdf handouts “Getting Punctuation Wrong,” “Breeze Excerpt,” and “Four Specific Techniques.”

Course 2 — Creating Realistic Characters — 3 audio sessions — $15 — Introduction and rationale. The kinds of character traits, how to assign them and in what proportion. Creating the protagonist/antagonist and helpers. How and why to create flat/secondary/cardboard characters. Assigning personal quirks and eccentricities. Using character slams and rooting techniques to craft the character arc. Includes two handouts in pdf: Cliché Traits Exercise and Partial Listing of Character Traits. NOTE: Again, I recommend this lecture only to learn about character traits and quirks and to put them in your mind. I do NOT recommend writing character sketches and other such silly techniques.

Course 3 — Writing Effective Dialect — 2 audio sessions — $10 — Introduction. What is dialect? Why use it? Reading your work aloud. Practicing dialect/pronunciation is essential. Labor intensive. How to write dialect. Techniques for creating particular effects. Notes on writing effective dialect. Includes two pdf handouts: A Dialect Table and Dialect Examples.

Course 4 — Writing Narrative (Complete Course, 7 audio sessions) — $35 — You literally cannot get this much valid information anywhere else even at several times the price. Ask my students. This stuff alone will dramatically improve the quality of your manuscript.

Introduction. Narrative defined. The natural voice of narrative and rationale. Narrative guidelines. Narrative as adjunct to dialogue. Tag lines. Verbs that are not tag-line verbs. The use of brief descriptive narrative bits. The narrator’s role defined. Describing the scene. Using action verbs. The necessary use of adjectives and adverbs. “Show, Don’t Tell” explained once and for all. “Passive Voice” (Passive Construction) explained once and for all. The use of state-of-being verbs, “had” and gerunds. Narrative as quasi-dialogue. Editorializing. Using the sense verbs. Assigning human traits to human parts. Assigning possession to inanimate objects. Misplaced modifiers.Misused words and phrases. Awkward constructions. Taming the Overreaching Narrator. Using throw-away verbs. Repeating in narrative what the reader just heard through dialogue. Interrupting to tell the reader the dialogue was not interrupted. Inane constructions. Read Your Work Aloud.

Course 5 — Point of View — 3 audio sessions — $15 — Introduction. Many writer confuse POV with narrative voice, but they are vastly different functions. The difference between POV and narrative voice, explained once and for all. POV defined. Narrative Voice defined. How to establish POV characters. When the narrator is also a character. One way to sketch a POV outline. Plotting: the 3-6-3-1 Rule (after John Galishaw).

Course 6 — The Seven Writerly Sins — 3 audio sessions — $15 — Introduction. An informative, humorous look at how to avoid success and live the starving-artist experience. (Or in the alternative, what to avoid doing if you want to be successful.) Unnecessary/excessive text. Beating the reader over the head. Using erroneous “facts.” The infamous “gave.” Inanity. Misplaced modifiers.

Course 7 — Writing Great Beginnings — 3 audio sessions — $15— Introduction. Story starters. Components of a great beginning. How to capture and hold the attention and imagination of the reader from the beginning. How to appeal to the emotional senses. Replete with examples from truly great writers, known and unknown.

Course 8 — Writing Flash Fiction — 3 audio sessions — $15 — Write a complete short story in 99 words or fewer, excluding the title. An excellent exercise in brevity and an excellent way to see the elements of fiction interacting in a confined space. What is not flash fiction. The five elements of fiction. Notes on the character arc; action verbs, adverbs, adjectives; regular and extremely irregular contractions; dialogue vs. narrative; how to use suggestion (implication); story starters. Includes pdf handout “Flash Fiction Annotated Examples”

Course 9 — Writing Poetry (Complete Course, 15 audio sessions) — $75 — This course is for poets. If you’re serious about your work and serious about polishing and honing your craft, your last excuse just left. I offer a separate course in Poetry Techniques for the Fictionist (see below).

Introduction, including rationale and definitions. A brief history. The modes of language. The use of punctuation in poetry. The use of metaphor, simile and symbology. The Elements of Structure: Making every word electric. Titling the poem. The line (length/brevity, internal rhythm/rhyme, phrases/clauses/caesura). The interplay of Line and Sentence in the poem.Structure expanded to include the stanza, the canto, the poem, and the collection. Techniques for developing structure. Notes on revision and writing naked, the feminine line, the masculine line, the headless line. The Elements of Sound: Whether and how to intentionally manipulate meter, rhythm; whether and how to use internal rhyme and end rhyme. The effect on the reader of the sounds of letters and words. Notes on blank verse, free verse, the prose poem. On coming full circle (framing the poem, wrapping the poem).

Course 10 — Poetry Techniques for the Fictionist — 8 audio sessions — $40 — Ours is an accentual-syllabic, metrical language. As a writer, you should at least be aware of the flow and emotion inherent in rhythms of the language itself. Introduction, including definitions. Rationale. Punctuation for writers. Specific uses of particular marks. The use of metaphor, simile, and symbology. The elements of structure. Word selection. The sentence. Settign mood and tone. Sentence length vs. brevity. The paragraph and length vs. brevity. The collection. Notes on archaic language and constructions. Notes on revision. To be a professional writer. Notes on sound. Our accentual-syllabic language. The sounds of letters and words. Manipulating reader speed. Includes pdf handout “Getting Punctuation Wrong” (Note that this presentation is for writers of fiction, memoir and personal essays. If you’re a poet, from aspiring to published, you want Course 9, Writing Poetry.)

Course 11 — Writing Off Into the Dark — 9 audio sessions — $45 — This is hands-down the best technique I’ve ever learned for writing fiction. It’s true that every writer is different, but it’s also true that you can train yourself to be any kind of writer you want to be. With this one life-changing course you can retrain yourself. Increase your productivity. If you aren’t writing 1000 words per hour, three or four hours per day, why not? Manage your fear, How you think of writing, How you practice writing, Heinlein’s Business Rules, Writing into the dark, The difference between short and long fiction, The difference between rewriting and revision, and much more.

What Others Have Said

“[Course 11, Writing Off Into the Dark] gave me a jump start to overcome my writing pause. I had pretty much stopped writing for fun. Now I’m heading to the computer to turn off my critical mind and write a story for an anthology. I’ll let you know what happens. Will spread the word about the lectures too. Thanks much.”— Joan Popek, award-winning writer and instructor at Creative Writing Institute

“Harvey is simply brilliant! His overall writing style, depth of multi-level plots, character development, and every aspect of his work should be studied by aspiring writers. He is personable and always open to helping others, making him a great teacher. If you have a chance to take one of his workshops, it will be well worth your time!” — Simon Pressland, Editor in Chief at Next Century Publishing

“Harvey is a multi-talented, dedicated artist. He is highly skilled in creating and executing with both words and pictures and is a master poet with boundless energy and creativity. If you want a seasoned professional writer to consult about novels, short stories and poetry, this is THE MAN to contact.” — Larry Long, Independent Writing Professional

“Harvey Stanbrough is not only a terrifically talented and prolific writer, he is a teacher par excellence. He is able to give concrete suggestions as to how the writing process can work for you and his seminars are well worth attending if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend one.” — Bonnie Edwards, Substitute Teacher at Vail (Arizona) School District, Independent Writing Professional

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