About Story Hospital

Dear Story Nurse,

  • I keep revising the beginning of my book instead of moving on to the next part.
  • My fun side character is trying to take over my serious story.
  • I wrote down this cool dream but it doesn’t make any sense outside my head. I don’t know how to turn it into something people will want to read.
  • When will I know that I’ve done enough research and it’s time to start writing?
  • I’m at the end of my book and don’t know how to wrap everything up.

If you’ve run into writing problems like these, the Story Nurse is here to help you!

Story Hospital is an advice column published on four Tuesdays a month. Each column answers a writer’s question about their work in progress. These columns are focused on the craft and practice of writing. I don’t tell you how to get an agent or quit your day job; I get right into the heart of the relationship between the author and the work.

You can read each column on the Story Hospital website or on Patreon. And by becoming a Patreon patron, you’ll get access to extra columns, an amazing community of writers, inspirational postcards, and much more!

What’s a story hospital?

At Readercon in 2016, I ran a program item called “Story Hospital” where writers got to have three 10-minute one-on-one conversations with story nurses (professional editors, teachers, longtime writers, critics, etc.) and fellow writers about their struggles with their current work in progress. It was a fantastic success. The writers found that condensing the explanation and discussion of their particular difficulties into just 10 minutes brought an amazing degree of clarity. I realized that an advice column would have the same advantages, with the bonus that other people could learn from each brief exchange of problem and solution. (And it wouldn’t be as noisy as 40 people having 20 conversations at once.) So I’m bringing Story Hospital to you through the magic of Patreon.

Who are you?

My name is Rose Fox and I’m a lifelong reader with a special fondness for genre fiction. My parents are writers and I grew up critiquing my mother’s manuscripts. On my first day at NYU, I red-penned the student newspaper (a weekday daily) and got a job as their junior copy editor; as a sophomore I became their youngest-ever copy chief. Shortly after leaving school, I launched a freelance career as a book reviewer, journalist, and book editor. Now I’m a senior reviews editor and copy editor at Publishers Weekly with more than 100 published book reviews and articles under my belt, and I’ve edited dozens of books for self-published authors.

I’m also passionate about teaching and helping people. I volunteer as a mentor for teen writers and spent three years as Readercon’s program chair, helping to create a world-renowned conference program that inspires and energizes hundreds of writers and readers every year. Teaching is my favorite part of book editing, too. Nothing makes me happier than that moment when I make something click for a writer or help them fall in love with their work all over again.

And lastly, I’m a novice author. I’m making very slow progress on two novels at the moment, and learning a tremendous amount about myself and what writing feels like from the inside. So I know just how hard it is to wrestle with a story, and I want to help make it easier for you and all my readers.

I have a question for the Story Nurse! How do I submit it?

Go to this page and it will tell you exactly what to do.

I have more questions!

Please see the Story Hospital FAQ.