The Writing Craft Mentorships

These mentorships are intense and tailored specifically to your writing and your life. 

Each topic will include discussions. Some will include topic-specific books and assignments, always at no additional cost. Assignments are not mandatory, but are recommended. We will drill deep into your writing. When we finish, you will be writing fiction at a professional level in the selected Craft topics.


* Coming up with story ideas — Story ideas are not golden. They’re a dime a thousand. When this is over, you will be flooded with a continual stream of story ideas. Includes ways to exercise the idea muscle.

* The five-senses exercise — You Will Be Astounded. How to truly convey the whole story and pull the reader to depth (and keep her there) as you do so.

* Writing openings —Five senses, ground the reader, intro the character, etc. No technique will leap your writing craft ahead more quickly. Writing openings for short stories, novels, chapters and major scenes. Includes practical application. For a tiny taste of the importance of character and description, see “On Character and Description” (FREE  CONTENT).

* On being a “putter-inner” or a “taker-outer” — Stephen King once wrote that there are two kinds of writers on revision: taker-outers and putter-inners. Which are you and why does it matter?s.


* Writing hooks — Grab the reader with a sentence that makes him hungry to read more. Includes my book Writing Great Beginnings (an ebook available only directly from me).

* The various types of cliffhangers and how to write them— Not all cliffhangers are physical, and very few encompass physically hanging from a cliff.

* Writing into the dark and cycling— A discussion of technique, and specifically being unstuck in time in your story.

* Taking your time and focusing down — The story is in the details. Where cycling comes in.

* Trusting your characters — All story begins with and hinges on character. The reader roots for character, and the character(s) live the story, react to the setting, etc. It’s all about character.

* POV characters, and the importance of the POV character’s opinion of setting Not YOUR opinion. The POV character’s opinion. The difference and why it is essential.

* Writing setting (via the POV character) Ground the reader. Characters don’t exist in a vacuum. They exist in a setting. Every one of them. Includes my book Writing the Character-Driven Story.

* Writing openings — Five senses, ground the reader, intro the character, etc.

* Writing the transitional scene specificallyNot as much detail required, but focusing down? Yes!

* Writing the major scene specifically All the tools of the trade brought together.

* Writing dialogue (includes my book, Writing Realistic Dialogue) In the written word, dialogue equals action.

* The difference between and use of dialogue tags and brief descriptive narrativesThese are different tools with different purposes. This is included in the major topic Writing Dialogue.

* Writing effective dialect (includes my book, Writing Dialect) — Less is more, how and why.

* Writing endings (and what an ending actually is) — It’s probably not what you think.

* Developing and using the reverse outline — One of the most valuable tools in your writer’s toolkit.

* Writing short stories, novellas or novels in series and the importance of a series bible — Expanding the reverse outline, plus.

during either or both of these mentorships (no additional charge) may include

* Heinlein’s Rules — a discussion.

* So-called “deep POV,” “show, don’t tell,” and other popular catch phrases that essentially mean nothing

* The short story, novella and novel and the differences between them

* Recommended other valid resources

* “Bogging down” or “getting stuck” and how to get through it

* Inventory — Why it’s important to keep track of you Intellectual Property (IP) and ways to do that.

* Licensing — Discussion focused on your Intellectual Property (IP). It isn’t about just publishing a book or story anymore. It’s about expanded marketing into other possible venues.

* Anything else that comes up during the course of the mentorship


The number of assignments will vary per student depending on how well the lesson sinks in. One student might fly through writing Setting, for example, but stall in writing Cliffhangers and require additional assignments. Another student might be the other way around. I will review and comment on all assignments.

* Write an opening (hook and ground the reader, add a cliffhanger, at least one assignment)

* Write the end of a chapter or scene with a cliffhanger and the hook and opening that follows (at least one assignment)

* Write a setting (at least one assignment)

* Write a transitional scene (at least one assignment)

* Write a major internal scene (a scene inside the story) with a cliffhanger (at least two assignments)

* Write an ending (with climax and denoument, at least one assignment)

* Write a short story or the first three chapters of a novella or novel to illustrate your mastery (Advanced Writing Craft only)


To enroll in either or both Writing Craft mentorships, email

Writing Craft 1: Essential Craft Topics: $600, or

* Writing Openings (includes 5-senses exercise and assignments): $300

* Any other Essential Craft Topic: $150 each (with assignments) or $50 each (lecture only)

Writing Craft 2: Advanced Craft Topics: $2500. This is a cohesive course designed to take a year or longer. Each subject builds on the one before it. Payable either in advance or at $100 per month. (The value of the courses added up individually is $3000.)

Specific Individual Topics: If you would like to break out any of the specific topics and teach it or them separately, email me and we’ll discuss it:

If you’re interested in The Writing Craft mentorships or if you have any questions, email me at


No additional fees — There is never any additional charge for ebooks provided, assignments or critique, or for additional topics that come up in the course of mentoring.

Payment may be made through PayPal (pay to: or via personal check, made payable to Harvey Stanbrough and mailed to PO Box 604, St. David AZ 85630. (See more in “Mentorship Fees and Payments” below.)

Unlike various other online lectures, workshops, seminars and classes, my mentorships are not one size fits all. All Writing Craft mentorships are personalized and structured specifically to address what I identify as weaknesses in your fiction from samples of your work via assignments.

All mentorships include limited Q&A by email or phone, or in person if you’re in the region. In all cases, I will be available via email for Q&A beyond the end of the mentorship.

For several years, I’ve mentored other writers through my blog at the Journal, through over a dozen non-fiction books on writing and publishing, through several audio lectures, and in private live seminars and presentations at writers conferences and conventions across the US and in Canada. To learn more about me or my writing, read my bio.

My mentorships are never scripted and are neither audio nor video presentations. They are purely personal, one-on-one relationships with ongoing direct regular contact with me primarily via email. We might enhance those conversations with phone calls, or even in person if you’re in (or can travel to) southeast Arizona.

I have been mentored myself. As my own writing career attests, good mentorships are invaluable.

Mentorship Fees and Payments

I believe my fees are the lowest in the industry for valid, quality instruction, but do your own comparison. I prefer fees be paid in advance by personal check or via PayPal, but I’m willing to work with you if you’d rather make payments. I encourage you to invest in yourself.


If you endure a life crisis and need to cancel your mentorship, I will refund your payment (pro-rated).

Privacy and Security

Of course, I will never give away or sell your email address, phone number, physical address or any other private information about you. I assume if you want anyone else to know that information, you’ll tell them yourself.

Naturally, you retain all rights to all of your intellectual property (IP), including what you turn in to me for assignments. I will never use your stories or parts of your stories in any way other than for instructional purposes with you or (anonymously, but with your express permission) with others.