The ‘Friend’ Filter

So you’ve written a story. But is it Friend-ready?

We’re often asked about what makes a good People’s Friend story. Strong, believable characters, an interesting storyline – these are the basics, of course.

But what is it that makes a story suitable for publication in the Friend?

It won’t contain anything likely to offend

In the very first edition of the Friend, published on January 13, 1869, the Editor made our mission statement clear. “We intend that fully one half of the ‘Friend’ shall be devoted to fiction. The Friend being intended for fireside reading, nothing will be admitted into its columns having the slightest tendency to corrupt the morals either of old or young.”

As we move towards our 150th  Anniversary, The People’s Friend remains true to those principles.

What do the readers feel comfortable with?

There’s an undoubtedly special connection between the Friend and its readers. They trust us to provide entertaining fiction, which they feel comfortable with. They don’t buy the Friend to read stories which are upsetting or contentious. They wouldn’t be happy with anything too coarse – that includes gratuitous violence, an uncomfortable level of intimacy, or nastiness. Bad language is a non-starter, as is anything too downbeat or gloomy.

 It’s fiction, with a feel-good factor!

 Our stories reflect our readers’ real lives, and the changing world we live in. For example, our readers respect the importance of the family, while accepting that family dynamics have changed and that families themselves come in many forms nowadays.

It’s reality, with a ‘Friend’ filter

 We’re don’t shy away from difficult situations, but we do look at them in our own way. So for example, we feature crime in our fiction, but we call it ‘cosy crime’. We can allude to the fact that a murder has taken place, but we’d never go into grisly detail or feature a blow-by-blow account of the murder. By the time we get there, it’s already taken place, and our focus is on the solving of the crime and the characters involved, not the crime itself. The ‘Friend’ filter.


As one of only a handful of magazines now publishing fiction, we aim to nurture new writers and encourage our established contributors. You can find our guidelines at>Fiction>SubmissionGuidelines

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!