There are two types of “Friend” writers.
When reading and critiquing the stories submitted to us, the Fiction team deal with both published writers, and those submitting unsolicited manuscripts (USM writers).
Each member of the team looks after a number of established “Friend” writers, but the USMs are vitally important, too.
They are the future fiction voices of our magazine.
These writers not only know what constitutes a good “Friend” story, they can deliver these stories on a regular basis.
The feedback we give these writers is often more detailed than when dealing with their USM counterparts.
There is a level of trust built up between writer and editor over time. An editor will know a writer’s strengths, and will suggest ways they can improve their stories, and encourage them along the way.
This feedback is vitally important in relation to serials in particular, where rewrites are common.
New writers often ask us about how to improve their stories.
Though we offer feedback through a Ret system — standard replies pertaining to the likes of plot and characterisation — we will offer more personalised feedback should we feel there is potential in a story and/or writer.
The jump from USM to regular “Friend” writer isn’t that big a leap.
It’s not uncommon for writers to have had only one story published by us, and then to have an individual member of the Fiction team work with them.
We will never discriminate against one USM over another — each story is read and evaluated on a date arrival basis.
Though a response might seem slow in arriving (it can take up to 16 weeks), rest assured it will duly arrive.
And you never know, it might take the form of that all-important personalised feedback.
Then you might find yourself one of the two types of “Friend” writers very soon!
For more advice and guidance from the Fiction team, visit our Writing Tools pages.
Do you have a story you think would be suitable for the “Friend”? Take a look at our submission guidelines here.