Ask the Story Nurse

This form is for asking the Story Nurse for help with a specific writing problem you’re facing. It can be a process problem (I keep revising my first three chapters instead of writing the rest of the novel) or a craft problem (my opening paragraphs are boring and I don’t know how to make them grab the reader) or a situational problem (I can’t make any progress on my thesis because my adviser’s comments are so cruel) or anything else that’s coming between you and the page. Even if you think your question is dull or easy or too specific to be of use or interest to anyone else, I’d love to see it!

It will be easiest for me to provide a useful answer to your letter if you can tell me:

  • the type, genre, and length of the piece you’re working on right now (e.g., romance novel, opinion column, report on scientific findings, catalog copy for power tools)
  • where you are in your process (e.g., planning, just starting, partway through, nearly done, revising)
  • which parts of writing it are easier for you
  • which parts of writing it are harder for you
  • the specific aspect of writing it that you’re particularly struggling with

Further info on what you can expect from a response is below the form.


What you can expect:

Please look through the letters already published on the site to get a sense of what kind of answer to expect. I will always strive to be kind, supportive, and compassionate while giving you practical advice you can use. If I publish your letter and a response, I will email you and let you know. I may also email you to ask for clarification or more information.

I’m unlikely to answer questions about writing as a career, the publishing industry, or how to find an agent. (If that’s the sort of question you have, try sending it to the Blunt Instrument.) I won’t evaluate excerpts of your work, even brief ones. (If you’d like your writing evaluated by a pro, try Death of 1000 Cuts.)

Posts may receive comments here or on Patreon. Comments in both places are moderated. Please see the comments policy for details.

If you’re on deadline, feel free to mention that, but I’m afraid I can’t promise to respond by a specific date.

Thank you very much for your question!