Finding The Right Slot For Your Story

Shutterstock / Cozine © story

When we buy your story, how do we decide on where’s best to put it?

Here are five factors that might affect where it is placed.

Your story’s length

Our weekly story lengths are as follows: we begin with an opening story of between 2,700 and 3000 words, followed by one of 1800 words, then one of 1200 words.

Next is a 2000 word story, then another 3000-word story, then two at 1800 words.

So your story’s length will dictate where it can be placed in the weekly magazine.

Our Specials can be slightly more flexible on length (more on that here), but the stories in each Special begin at just 1000 words and go up to 9,500 for a Long Read.

And look out for a brand-new post on writing for the Annual, and the word lengths required, coming soon.


The stories in our Annual and weekly issues are the most traditional of all our stories. They are strong, feel-good, reads, with nothing to shock or offend.

The Specials are the place where your story might fit best if it is perhaps less traditional, but it’s still important to remember that it should still be in the “Friend” tone.


We’re moving into autumn now, and that’s reflected in our fiction.

Most of our Christmas stories have been bought and placed, and we’re now thinking about New Year stories.

So when you’re writing, always think around six months ahead.

Stories set on a particular day

I’m just putting together the stories for our Nov 7 issue, which is our Remembrance issue this year.

We’re always happy to consider stories set around specific dates or events such as Remembrance, Easter, Wimbledon, etc.

What we need

Sometimes where your story is placed depends simply on what we’re looking for at that moment.

For example, perhaps we need a 3,200 word story for the Special; we’ll be looking for a story that matches all the requirements of length and seasonality.

Wherever your story is placed, it’s also important that it’s a good fit with all the other stories in that Mix, with no clashing themes or historical periods.

For more from Fiction Ed Lucy, read her blog here.

Click here for more information on submitting stories to “The People’s Friend”

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!