Audio Lecture Series

These are professional, in-depth audio courses from our National Book Award nominated writer, Harvey Stanbrough. These courses are for writers who are serious about the craft. They’re based on the more popular writing seminars Harvey taught for 30 years.

The current course topics include Writing Realistic Dialogue, Creating Realistic Characters, Writing Effective Dialect, Writing Narrative, Point of View, Writerly Sins, Writing Great Beginnings, Writing Flash Fiction, Writing Poetry, Poetry Techniques for the Fictionist, and Writing Off Into the Dark. Here are the Complete Course Descriptions.

Once you’ve paid for a course, you can listen to it at your own pace and come back as often as you like. Each course consists of a few to several professional-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.


1. EMAIL (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.
  • If you want to pay by credit card, let me know that and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice.


  • To pay with your PayPal account, send the fee to
  • To pay via credit card, email us and we’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 Mona Stanbrough and mail it to PO Box 604, Saint David AZ 85630-0604.

3. WE WILL EMAIL YOU THE course(s) you purchased as MP3 files. From that point on you can listen to them at your own pace and come back to them as often as you want. I’ll also email any handouts in pdf format that go along with the courses you’ve ordered. If you sign up for a course that you believe has a handout and you don’t receive it, please email me.


♦ 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.

♦ 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. This 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 — 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 or 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. We 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 12 — Writing Off Into the Dark — 9 audio sessions — $45 — This is the most important course on this page.

Retrain yourself to be a writer. 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 a great deal more.

Probable Future Courses

♦ Course 11 — SMART SELF-PUBLISHING — XX audio sessions — $XX — This series of audio lectures covers self-publishing from definition to details, including the difference between self-publishing and subsidy publishing, copyright and the LCCN, when you need an ISBN and how to obtain it at no cost, how to set yourself up as a publisher, specific URLs, references and recommendations for formatting, print book layout and cover design, how you are paid as a self-publisher, the importance of the book cover, where to find cover art, epublishing and POD (print on demand) publishing, how to make your book available worldwide in a matter of days and more. Includes PDF handouts with up to date information re URLs, references, and recommendations for services.

♦ Course 13 — WRITING THE CHARACTER DRIVEN STORY — XX audio sessions — $XX — This is good for any length story, from short to novel. All good stories are character driven. As Bradbury himself said, plot is only the footprints left by the characters as they run through the story. This will include where to find ideas, the purpose of the story idea, the importance of setting and how to write it, how to write an opening, the five-senses exercise, and a great deal more.

♦ Course 14 — EMPLOYING THE PERSONA — XX audio sessions — $XX — Writing as a persona can enable you to write stories in a different voice or style. I have used three personas and it’s also a boatload of fun. This is especially useful if you write in different genres. A persona certainly can write a novel (or a series of novels) or any other length of fiction. Includes how to create (or meet) the persona, the difference between a pen name (pseudonym) and a persona, recommendations for exercises to include bios, personal histories, and short stories in at least two genres. If you’re looking for no-excuse immersion in writing, this will help you get there. NOTE: I strongly recommend taking Writing Off Into the Dark as a prerequisite to this workshop.

♦ Course 15 — WRITING AND SELLING SHORT FICTION — XX audio sessions — $XX — This will combine parts of Writing the Character Driven Story (but with the focus on short stories) and Smart Self-Publishing. The course includes the purpose of a story idea, where to get story ideas, how to write an opening, how to write a setting, the five senses exercise, the focus of the short story, being in the story (not above it)/ self-publishing (good) vs. subsidy publishing (bad), copyright, isbn and lccn explained, set yourself up as an indie publisher, how you are paid, price your books competitively, the importance of the book cover and where to find cover art.


I realize you might rather purchase multi-topic courses, and that’s fine. To make it easier, I’ve put together these packages for you. If you don’t see what you want, EMAIL ME and let me know. If I can put together a package to suit your needs, I will.

Add Course 10 — Poetry Tech for Fictionists — to any package below for $35 (save $5)
Add Course 12 — Writing Off Into the Dark — to any package below for $40 (save $5)

PACKAGE A— $70 (save $15)

Course 1 — $50…. Dialogue
Course 4 — $35…. Narrative

PACKAGE B — $85 (save $15)

Course 1 — $50…. Dialogue
Course 4 — $35…. Narrative
Course 5 — $15…. POV

PACKAGE C — $105 (save $20)

Course 1 — $50…. Dialogue
Course 2 — $15…. Characters
Course 3 — $10…. Dialect
Course 4 — $35…. Narrative
Course 5 — $15…. POV

PACKAGE D — $225 (save $30)

Course 1 — $50…. Dialogue
Course 2 — $15…. Characters
Course 3 — $10…. Dialect
Course 4 — $35…. Narrative
Course 5 — $15…. POV
Course 6 — $15…. Writerly Sins
Course 7 — $15…. Writing Great Beginnings
Course 8 — $15…. Writing Flash Fiction
Course 10 — $40… Poetry Tec for the Fictionist
Course 12 — $45… Writing Off Into the Dark

Thanks for Visiting!