No post this week

Apologies, friends, but I have a wretched cold and am really not capable of giving good advice right now! I will make two posts next week, once I’m feeling better, to make up for it. I hope you enjoy your week, whether it involves NaNoWriMo or Thanksgiving or neither or both, and wish you good health as we get into germ season here in the Northern Hemisphere. Wash your hands and write well!


Story Nurse

Ask me questions! Subscribe to Story Hospital! Become a patron!

Dear friends,

My question queues are running dry. If you’ve ever wanted to ask the Story Nurse something, now is a great time. If you’ve written in before, write in again! (Patreon patrons, don’t forget to use the patrons-only link to jump to the head of the line.)

I’ve also added new subscription options for your friends who aren’t already following Story Hospital. You can:

  • subscribe on WordPress: Follow Story Hospital
  • add the RSS feed to your favorite feed reader
  • sign up for email updates from the sidebar of any Story Hospital page
  • check the “Notify me of new posts” box when leaving a comment

Give someone you love a Story Hospital subscription by sending them to this page and encouraging them to sign up. All these options are free!

Of course, if you become a Patreon patron you will also get every post emailed to you two days early, and get a bunch of other perks, for just $1 a month (or more if you feel like it).

Mid-month progress on the patron drive: we’re at 107 patrons (goal is 120) and $270/month (goal is $300). Please encourage the writers you know to become Patreon patrons so I can make this year’s NaNoWriMo posts happen! If you’re already a patron, you can also increase your pledge. Just 30 people upping their pledges by $1/month would get us there.

Some of my past NaNo posts:

If you’re doing NaNo (in any form) and you think posts like these would be helpful, help me reach my pledge drive goals so I can write four brand new NaNoWriMo posts for you (and all the other NaNoers) in November.

Thank you so much for reading and supporting Story Hospital. I was astonished to see that over 1,000 people have already subscribed through WordPress or email—I never imagined having an audience like that. I’m here for all of you and hope you will all send me 1,000 questions to answer!


Story Nurse

It’s October Patron Drive Time!

Dear friends,

It’s October, and that means it’s time for the third annual Story Hospital patron drive!* As always, if we meet the patron goal, I will make four extra posts in November for NaNoWriMo. I love writing these posts and am already pondering topics, so I hope you will help me out by spreading the word.

* Last year I seriously considered leaving Patreon, but I have not yet found another good way to make Story Hospital self-supporting. I do love the Patreon idea and ideal, and I love being part of the ecosystem of small creators supporting one another. So, for the nonce, I’m sticking with it.

As some of you may have noticed, I’m no longer on Twitter, and I have never used Facebook. These choices are what’s best for me personally, but they do make it challenging to spread the word about Story Hospital. Therefore, I’m counting on all of you.

My October pledge drive goals are 120 patrons or $300/month. (We’re currently at 102 and $256.) I think these goals entirely attainable. But for a handful of new people to pledge support, many more than that need to visit Story Hospital’s Patreon page.

Between now and the end of October, please share that link with at least one writer you know who you think would benefit from Story Hospital’s advice. Don’t spam anyone; make the connection personal. Share some specific posts, on or on Patreon, that you think this writer would find useful. And if you’re a patron, tell your friend why you think Story Hospital is worth supporting.

If you do use social media or hang out on writing forums, feel free to post Story Hospital links there too. But sharing directly with a writer you know is the best way for you to support the site.

Here are some popular craft posts to share:

And some about the emotional and psychological side of writing:

Thanks as always to the letter writers and others who inspired these posts. (While I’m here asking for favors, ask me questions! Your letters are vital to keeping Story Hospital going.)

Writing my weekly Story Hospital posts is one of the great joys of my life, and your contributions make it possible for me to keep doing it. If you’re a patron, thank you so much! If you aren’t already a patron, please consider making a pledge of just $1/month. If patronage is not for you for whatever reason, thank you for reading, linking, and commenting. Even if all you do is make my hit counter go up, I see that and appreciate it.

120 patrons. $300 a month. I think we can do this. Let’s go!


Story Nurse

Hello, Awkwardeers!

Dear friends,

I’m chuffed that my hero and role model Captain Awkward was kind enough to link to Story Hospital from today’s post. If you’re coming over from that post, welcome!

Story Hospital is a letter-based advice site (like CA) that’s specifically for writers. The Captain mentioned my NaNoWriMo posts, which are all linked from my NaNoWriMo tag. In addition to my weekly letter-answering post (which goes up Tuesday), I write one NaNo post every Saturday through November.

The NaNo posts are my thank-yous to my Patreon patrons after my annual October drive, and my patrons get to suggest the topics. Story Hospital is totally Patreon-funded and I’m so grateful to all my backers for making this site possible.

You can also find me on Twitter at @storyhospital. Come say hello! And if you’ve got a question about writing, just drop it in my ask box. Welcome, and I hope you’ll hang around.


Story Nurse

Patron drive SUCCESS

Dear friends,



[image: a snapshot of Patreon’s front page for Story Hospital, showing 83 patrons and $240/month]

You just blew my mind by putting us over the top of the $240 mark. I really thought 90 patrons would be a challenging goal and $240 was impossible. Thank you for proving me wrong! You are fantastic!

I am especially moved that so much of the increase in pledges came from longtime patrons upgrading to higher tiers. I’m truly honored by your support.

In celebration, I’m unlocking all my fifth Tuesday posts through November 1. Share them with your friends now while you can!

#6: returning to writing after a long hiatus.

#19: how to bring your romantic protagonists together when they’d rather be apart.

#28: “Am I too busy to write or just being avoidant?”

#45: How to set reader expectations for the genre you’re writing.

#58: What “show” and “tell” really mean, and how and when to do them. (This is one of my favorites.)

And the post that just went up yesterday, #67, fighting the distraction of the shiny new idea.

Plus I unlocked this $4+ writing craft post, which is full of tips for describing settings when you’re good at dialogue but find description challenging.

I’m beyond thrilled to welcome all my new patrons, and beyond grateful to all of you who boosted your pledges. Your support makes a real difference to me and my family. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Onward to the next year!

Hearts forever,

Story Nurse

Patron drive week continues!

Dear friends,

For just this week, I’m unlocking one of my $4 patron craft posts for EVERYONE to see. The post is full of advice on describing settings for writers who do better with dialogue. Check it out!

Become a patron at $4+ and you’ll get a post like that every month! $4 really isn’t much for a monthly writing craft class, and one of my patrons called it “the best $4 I’ve ever spent.” So tell your friends what an awesome bargain Story Hospital patronage is, and consider pledging at $4 or changing your pledge level for a month or two to try it out. You can always dial back when you need to.

I know writers aren’t generally rich and I appreciate every single one of my $1 pledges. Thanks so much for being a patron, at any level!

Keep spreading the word, and thanks to everyone who’s already done so—I got three new patrons yesterday and the total now stands at 72 patrons and $185. The goal remains 90 patrons and/or $240. Let’s keep going!


Story Nurse

It’s October patron drive time!

Dear friends,

As I did last year, I’m running a Patreon patron drive through the end of October. Right now I have 69 patrons bestowing $181/month on me (THANK YOU all SO MUCH). If we can get that to 90 patrons OR $240/month by November 1, I’ll do another series of NaNoWriMo posts, and my patrons will get to suggest the topics!

You can help by telling your friends how much you love Story Hospital, and what you get out of being a patron. Maybe link them to a post or two that helped you, or that you think would help them. Here are some popular ones:

NaNoWriMo: Accommodating Your Disability (and Other Limitations)

#34: What It Means to Be Blocked

#15: How to Create Original Work

And remind your friends that just $1 or $2 a month gets them great patron perks! Just sign up here:

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. I’ll be making more posts later in the week with more info on the patron drive and what you can do to help.


Story Nurse

Happy First Anniversary, Story Hospital!

Dear friends,

One year ago today, I took a deep breath and told everyone I knew to check out my new advice column for writers. In my personal blog, I wrote, “I am very nervous and excited! I’ve never done a Patreon thing before. And this project relies heavily on people sending in questions—if they don’t do that, I’m kind of sunk. But people are becoming patrons already, and tweeting lots about it… and I am optimistic.”

Today Story Hospital has 58 advice columns posted, and 59 patrons are contributing $162 a month toward its upkeep. I’m so proud of my little site, and so grateful to all of you for helping to keep it going.

If you’re a regular reader of Story Hospital, or if my advice has helped you, will you consider becoming a Patron today? Just $1/month—not per post, per month—gets you access to the priority request queue and quarterly patron-only posts (one of which is coming up at the end of this month), and you’ll get posts delivered right to your email inbox two days before the rest of the world sees them. If Patreon’s not your speed or you haven’t got the funds to spare, please give Story Hospital a shout-out in your personal social media spaces, or share a link to your favorite post from the archives. Every signal boost helps.

I had grand plans for an anniversary celebration; alas, personal matters have taken up all my time and energy lately, and I wasn’t able to see them through. In lieu of that, I’m opening my comments to all of you for an anniversary party. Please share a link to a piece of your own writing on the theme of kindness or satisfaction or joy or celebration. If that’s not the sort of thing you write, link to a piece of your writing that you feel good about and proud of. If you don’t have anything to link to or would rather not, leave a kind comment on someone else’s work. And tell me what tasty food or drink you’re bringing for the virtual potluck!

I hope this is the first of many, many anniversaries. Thanks for coming along for the ride.


Story Nurse

This site is brought to you by my generous patrons on Patreon. Got a writing question? Ask the Story Nurse!

Story Hospital is on Twitter!

Dear friends,

I have finally created a Twitter account for Story Hospital! It is, unsurprisingly, @StoryHospital, and you can chat with me there whenever you like. I’ll be tweeting links to posts—which will now go up at 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesdays so that the automated tweets go out at a sensible hour, so Patreon patrons will get ten extra hours of exclusive access—and answering quick writing questions and joining Twitter chats about writing and all that sort of thing. Please do follow along and say hello.


Story Nurse



Wow, we’re already at 50 patrons with four days left to go in the patron drive! Thank you all so much for spreading the word, and welcome, new patrons! I’m really touched by your support for Story Hospital.

Keep an eye out for those NaNoWriMo posts every Thursday in November! My first regular November letter just happens to be NaNo-related too. But don’t worry, non-NaNo writers, all my content will be relevant for you too. We all have days when we’re writing to deadline or otherwise under pressure, and there’s plenty to learn from NaNo tips and tricks even if you write very slowly or only write nonfiction. The important thing is: more advice for everybody! 😄