View From The Production Desk – Part Two


Continuing from part one of “View From The Production Desk”, Jacki offers further insight into the subbing process.

RE: story length, do you prefer to add or subtract words to a story?

Sometimes a story can really benefit from cutting, as it tightens up the narrative and makes it flow better, and I find that cutting is much easier than adding words to a story.

More often than not, we will leave most of the cutting or padding of stories until they are laid out on the page, as we can more accurately get an idea of how much has to be removed or added.

At the subbing stage it can be difficult, as word count doesn’t always give you an accurate view of story length.

Before moving to the Production team, you worked on the Fiction team, and are an avid reader. Is it difficult to enjoy reading a story when you are editing it at the same time?

Not at all, and I quite often find myself in tears at the end of a particularly emotional story!

Everyone has their own preferences with genres, though, and some stories strike a chord with me that might not affect my colleagues in the Production team.

Life would be very boring if we all liked the same things!

The “Friend” has its own house style. Can you list some of the common examples of this in action?

There are so many examples!

They are mostly little things, like using “OK” instead of “Okay”, and always starting a new line when someone speaks.

We also prefer to say “Mary said” rather than “said Mary”. These are little things that most readers wouldn’t even notice, but we keep it consistent through all of our stories.

What are your subbing pet hates?

I don’t have any real pet hates, if I’m honest; after all, it is my job to make the story fit the “Friend” style and I enjoy it.

The only thing I would say that can be very time-consuming is when an author formats the story before they send it to us.

We prefer for there not to be any formatting on their original story, as it is much easier for us to do it here, rather than having to remove the author’s formatting then applying our own.

Oh, and changing single quotes to double quotes can take up a lot of our time, as we always use double quotes in the “Friend”!

Interested in seeing your story in the “Friend”? Click here to take a look at our submission guidelines.

Are you curious about how our Design team does some of their great work? Click here for a video which takes a closer look at our 150th Fiction Special.

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 aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.