What’s Our Single Best Piece Of Advice For Writers?

Advice For Writers

Here on the Fiction Team, we like to make sure we offer the best advice for writers looking to submit to the “Friend”.

We’re often asked for hints and tips on what makes a successful short story, and it’s a pleasure to help.

Tracey’s Writing Hour over on our Twitter page (every Tuesday at 11 a.m.!) often raises interesting questions.

As we were discussing the tweets this week, an interesting question came up.

What is the most important thing an author can do to give their work the best chance of being accepted?

And the answer is…

Read the magazine regularly!

Whether you want to write for “The People’s Friend” or another publication, familiarising yourself with the content is the best way to understand what readers like to read.

Fiction Ed Shirley recalls being impressed by an author who, when she decided to try writing for us, firstly sat down with the magazine.

She began by looking at our content – the stories and serials, poems and letters pages.

But she then also studied the type of words we use, the length of sentences and paragraphs, the structure of each serial.

She got “under the skin” of the magazine until she felt comfortable enough to write for us. And she has been one of our foremost authors ever since.

Remember: for 150 years, the “Friend” has kept its readers at its heart – what they like, and would like to read about.

If you’re continually receiving rejections

Similarly, if you’re continually receiving rejections, take some time to look objectively at what you’ve submitted so far.

Go through our checklist of why stories may not yet be ready for submission; if none of those apply, check our guidelines.

As Writer Of The Week Michael Ingram says, “Research what your target magazine really wants.”

And do bear in mind that the success of the “Friend” is often said to be down to evolution, not revolution.

Our readers, like the “Friend” itself, move with the times, while cherishing traditional values.

Do you have a story ready for submission? See our guidelines here.

If you want to make sure you’re familiar with the magazine, why not take out a subscription? They’re great value for money, and you’ll get stories delivered straight to your door every week!

You can find our archive of advice for writers by clicking 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!