Priority request queue

Thank you so much for being a Patreon patron! The form at the end of this page will place your request in my priority request queue. I draw at least one of my four monthly questions from this queue, and often more.

This form is for asking the Story Nurse for help with a specific problem you’re struggling with in your current work in progress. 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 no matter what I write my adviser hates it) or anything else that’s coming between you and the page. But it must be a question about writing, and it must relate to a project you’re working on right now.

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)
  • 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

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

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.

Please look through the letters already published on the site to get a sense of what types of letters I answer and how I answer them.

Please don’t ask me questions about writing as a career, the publishing industry, how to find an agent, or general topics of writing craft. (If that’s the sort of question you have, try sending it to the Blunt Instrument.) Please don’t include any excerpts of your work, even brief ones. (If you’d like your writing evaluated by a pro, try Death of 1000 Cuts.)

I especially encourage marginalized writers to ask questions, including writers of color, queer and trans writers, young and beginning writers, and disabled writers. (You do not need to reveal any personal information in your letter.) Part of my mission is to provide help and support to those who don’t get a lot of it within their communities. I’m queer, non-binary trans, mixed white and Jewish, and disabled; I’m not perfect and I don’t know everything, but I do understand what it’s like to be at the margins and to struggle with marginalization-related craft questions such as how and whether to write about people like myself, what to expect from a mainstream audience, and how to do historical research on marginalized people and communities when the official record is patchy at best. I will do my very best to handle every question with the thoughtful sensitivity it deserves. If I feel I’m not equipped to answer a question, I won’t just reject it; I’ll do my best to find someone who can give it a kind and knowledgeable answer.

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

Please address your letter “Dear Story Nurse” and sign it with the pseudonym you’d like to have published with your letter on the site.