As you know, “The People’s Friend” thrives on Fiction submissions from our dedicated readers and writers.
Our guidelines are available here, but we’ve put together some top tips about writing for the “Friend” we think you’ll find very handy.
Take a look below!
Number each page
Pages can get mixed up in the reading process, so to save time, please number each one.
Name and title
Please put your name under the title of your story on the opening page of your manuscript.
Please use double spacing, and don’t include any indents.
Once again, this saves oodles of time when we run the copy on the page.
All dialogue should be in double quotes.
“Have you made a decision yet?”
Please don’t phone us a week after submitting your story. It can take up to 16 weeks for us to read manuscripts and make a decision.
Generally, if we want you to rewrite a story we’ll specifically ask you to do so.
If you really want to have another go, please mark “rewrite” on your manuscript.
Address your submissions correctly
When you get that wonderful e-mail from a member of the Fiction team to say you’ve been successful, you should always send subsequent stories to that person.
Otherwise your story will go in with the unsolicited manuscripts, and could take a while to be read.
Seasonal stories and time-sensitive ones like St. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, Hallowe’en etc should be sent in six months in advance.
This allows us time to read, buy, illustrate and schedule.
You can also mark on the envelope the season or event that your story is about.
Serial-writing can be tricky
If you want to try to write a serial for us, the first step is always to send us a detailed synopsis of each instalment.
Only then will we make a decision. After that, we’ll ask you to submit one instalment at a time.
Don’t forget the dialogue
You would not believe the number of submissions we receive that feature no conversation between the characters.
The story is simply “shown” and not “told”.
If you want your story to jump off the page and be engaging, it has to have realistic characters.
Part of character development is giving them a voice . . . literally.
Yes, it’s true. We receive quite a number of stories where anyone over a certain age is completely hopeless with mobile phones, laptops etc.
It’s a lazy and stereotypical basis for a story, and completely untrue.
Also, don’t portray people over 70 as ancient and out-of-touch . . . we all know that’s not the case these days!
For more advice on writing for the “Friend”, take a look at our Writing Tools section here.