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 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.)

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