It’s Your Move

Working on a story with a view to publication? When it comes to writing for the Friend, there’s no rush, says Fiction Team’s Lucy


I love chess. It’s like cricket, on a board: strategy, forward planning, patience. And every game’s different. So it’s a little like writing fiction for The People’s Friend. Every story is different, requiring thought and planning before going ahead at every stage.


Let the story ‘settle’

Something that’s come to our attention is that occasionally, writers may feel under pressure to write quickly. Unless you’ve got a specific deadline, taking time now will save time later. It’s a good idea to let your story ‘rest’ once it’s finished; reading over it with a fresh eye often helps you spot errors of spelling and grammar. Things that may have made sense at the time may obviously need clarifying now. And additional bits and bobs may come into your mind in the days following a ‘final’ draft.


Take time before re-submitting

Authors are sometimes asked to make changes to their story before it’s passed to the Senior Reading Team, to give it the best possible chance of being accepted. If you’re given a story back to make changes, give yourself time before resubmitting. Let the story ‘settle’.

Sending it back too quickly makes it more likely that it’ll be returned for another look. So, unless it’s just a quick change or inserting a sentence here or there, hold onto it at least overnight, and if possible for at least a couple of days. Taking time now means it’s less likely you’ll send it in only to think a couple of days later – oh, I wish I’d added that!


Forward planning

When a story first starts formulating in your mind, it can help to plan out what happens before you start writing. Things may develop differently down the line, but it’s useful to have a synopsis prepared first. Characters may come into your mind before a fully-formed story, or vice versa; keep a notebook with you and jot down ideas.

Our Quick Guidelines For Sending In Short Stories are available 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!