There are five points relating to our readers included in our fiction guidelines. I thought it would be helpful to clarify these for all the budding “Friend” writers out there.
1. “Friend” readers range in age from about thirty to well over eighty. They like being entertained – and dislike being depressed. They like realistic material, but not so realistic – with sex, violence, drugs, drink, etc. – that they are frightened or saddened.
A lot of stories we reject are simply too depressing. Realism is important, but so is hope – give the readers the promise of a better tomorrow.
2. They still believe in the sanctity of marriage and the importance of the family.
We live in a modern, ever-changing world, and our readers realise that. But in “Friend” fiction, love is the word that makes the world turn. If you are in any doubt, don’t draw undue attention to your character’s marriage status.
3. Our readers like people – ordinary people, with problems they can sympathise with, and in situations they can relate to. They’re optimistic – they like to see something good coming out of a situation, or the redeeming side of a character.
Write character-based stories. A memorable character will shine in any period or location. Characters don’t have to be perfect, and there are often lessons learned by the end of our stories.
4. They’re practical women – and men – with ordinary interests and hobbies. They’re always willing to give a neighbour a helping hand and enjoy being with a group of friends.
It doesn’t matter what your characters’ backgrounds are, it’s about bringing their feelings to the fore. An astronaut in space will still care about her family back home, as much as the wife whose husband has been called up to fight for his country.
5. Yes – they are traditionalist. And proud of it! So they like to see their values reflected in their “Friend”. Many say that’s exactly how they regard the magazine – as a friend.
The readers will judge characters and events on how they themselves would react in any given situation. You shouldn’t necessarily shy away from dealing with a subject, but you should always be careful of how you handle writing it.
For more information, check out our fiction guidelines here.