Writing 3000-word Stories For The “Friend”

3000-word stories

When speaking to future Fiction Ed Lucy about story lengths recently, she mentioned we were short of 3000-word stories.

It made me think why that length is always in demand in the magazine. We only publish two 3000-word stories in the weekly, and then two more (four, if you count the 3200 & 3500) in the Specials.

Over the course of a year, we publish two hundred 3000-word stories, compared to three hundred at the 2000 range. That’s not much of a difference in figures.

Speaking to other members of the Fiction team, the consensus is that the 2000 range is more popular across magazine fiction in general.

Not only that, but — without detracting from the shorter stories — they are easier to write.

Longer stories require more depth to the writing.

Story opener

We can quickly tell if a 2000-word story has been disguised as 3000 words due to a long-drawn-out plot.

Our opener stories are around 3000 words, as this gives them time to pull the readers into a story and create memorable characters.

In some ways, 4000-word stories are easier to write than 3000.

Like the 2000 range, they offer a longer plot to the reader. It might be that more characters are involved, or that the plot is more intricate.

3000 word-stories need the “punch” of the 2000 range, but also the complexity of a 4000-word story.

Mastering these can be a challenge, but I’d encourage you to try your hand at writing them if you haven’t already done so.

It can be a rewarding experience, shaping your story to fit a specific format.

And who knows — one day we might see your story as the weekly “Friend” opener!

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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”.