How To Write A Memorable Serial


Many writers I speak to are apprehensive of starting a “Friend” serial.

They feel it’s beyond them, or worry that they’ll run out of writing steam before the end, and their work will grind to a halt.

As I explained in a previous post on serial writing, it’s not a solo effort – there is always guidance from a member of the Fiction team.

And remember, a germ of an idea can grow into a serial if you adhere to the following three story elements:


Story backgrounds can enhance characterisation and strengthen reader identification.

If you write a serial about fishermen and their wives, then the readers will expect settings to revolve around the fishing community, on land and sea. They’ll expect to hear about where the people work, where they socialise, and what they talk about once they are in those locations.

A strong setting can act as another character, giving the story further personality. Think of a pub or place of work in a TV soap, or Hogwarts Castle in a Harry Potter adventure.


What makes a good “Friend” plot?

It must be believable. If the readers believe in your characters’ goals, their interest will be sustained throughout.

For our serials, the author is both the scriptwriter and director; you will always be planning ahead, balancing background information with the unfolding of narrative events.

Dialogue is also an effective tool in relation to developing plot. Not only can it alter the pace of individual scenes, it can remove unnecessary explanations from the narrator.


Characters are key to our serials.

Make the readers care for them and root for them. Does your main character have a goal, or problem to overcome? No? Then give them one.

The readers aren’t going to invest their time in someone who glides through the course of a serial. If it’s a goal or problem that the reader can also identify with, then all the better.

In “Friend” fiction, especially serials, our readers and characters are often interchangeable.

Now, time to start writing!

If you don’t think a serial is for you, take a look at our short story submission guidelines (analysed in further detail by Alan here). 

Or maybe you are more ambitious, and have a pocket novel in your sights? Click here for more details on how to get started.


Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.