Is writing for our “Special” different from the weekly?

On sale every three weeks, “People’s Friend” Specials are packed with good reading, with fourteen short stories in every issue as well as features and travel. Great when you’re on the go, or just curling up with a cuppa!

So how does writing for a “Friend” Special differ from the weekly?

Always keep the reader in mind

Specials attract a slightly wider age range than our weekly, and this is reflected in the short stories and ‘long reads’ we feature. Stories in the Specials can be a little ‘edgier’ than stories in the weekly. What’s most important is to always keep our reader in mind. What would she enjoy reading about? What would – and wouldn’t – she feel comfortable with?

If you’d like to try writing a story especially for our Specials, here’s what to bear in mind:

*Although the readership is slightly different, their values are the same. So nothing controversial or contentious please. Nothing with any degree of violence, bad language or intimacy. Nothing to offend.

Lengths can be flexible

*Our Special features stories of slightly different lengths compared to our weekly issue. In the current Special, we have a long read of around 9,500 words – and you can find more info on writing a long read here. Story lengths vary from one page (1000 words), to standard-length stories of 2000, 3000, and 4000 words, to less regular lengths between the three.

Modern themes, with traditional values

*It’s fair to say there’s a greater degree of flexibility on not only lengths, but also in content. While the weekly features a good proportion of traditional “Friend” stories, we’re not averse to featuring more challenging or ‘modern’  situations in our Special stories – as long as they’re resolved positively, and maintain the famous “Friend” ‘feel-good’ factor.

*The best way to gauge the type of stories we’re looking for – and get to know the reader – is to read the magazine, and the Special, regularly.


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!