Age Is Just A Number

If you’d like to write fiction for the ‘Friend’, remember our readers aren’t ‘old’

Being in your 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s nowadays isn’t like being that age in days gone by. Generally speaking, people looked – and acted – a lot older back in the day than women of the same age now. When you were young and thought of a granny, what image would have sprung to mind? An elderly, slightly bent, grey-haired lady in black?

Retirees now are likely to have full lives, be fairly active, have lots of hobbies, go on cruises – think of Cher, looking great at 72 and who has just appeared in Mamma Mia 2!

The Baby Boomers

‘Baby Boomers’ are people born between 1946 and 1964. They’re now aged between 50 and 72 – a considerable chunk of our readers fall into that category.

Don’t forget that thanks in part to our social media, we also have a growing readership among thirty- and forty-somethings. So it’s a wide age range, but what they have in common is a love of reading.

Writing about Widowhood

When you’re considering writing a story for the Friend, take a moment first. For example, we’ve had a glut of stories about widows recently. Many of our readers will be widows, and will have friends and relations who are widows. But it’s how you approach the story that matters. Does it say something new and insightful about widowhood?

Occasionally, writers use widowhood as almost the default position when writing about single women of a certain age. If your leading lady is single, could she be single through choice? Or perhaps separated or divorced?

So, if you’re planning to write a story around a familiar theme, look at it from a new angle and include a positive, forward-looking resolution.

Always bear in mind who you’re writing for

Our readers have a great deal of love and respect for traditional family life; they also understand that family life has changed. They stay true to their own values, whilst accepting that society around them changes. Our aim is always to make sure no one feels excluded.

For example, many readers are homemakers – but they also have other interests: reading, seeing friends, keeping in touch with family, among others.

Everyone’s different

All women are different. Some 40-somethings are very mature in outlook, and some 80-year-olds have a really ‘young’ take on life! So it’s not one size fits all.

Before you send your story in

That’s not to say there’s no place for traditional stories in the ‘Friend’ – there is, of course. We endeavour to include a mix of old and new – as you can see in our illustrations – set in a range of different times.

And finally…

Whatever age our readers are, there are some things they’d prefer not to read about. Swearing is out, as is anything offensive, grim, smutty or depressing. And no unhappy endings please.

Look at life through the ‘Friend’ filter here

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!