After being kindly invited to a recent Zoom session with a London-based U3A creative writing group, I talked in-depth about “Friend” fiction, especially what we look for in a story. The subject of topical storylines was discussed, which I hope will be of interest to “Friend” readers and writers alike.
Some people think we only publish stories about kittens stuck up trees and retirees baking cookies. Though our readers are traditionalist in their views and like to see their values reflected in the stories they read, they are not traditional old-fashioned grannies.
They are modern women interested and involved in the world they live in. They are adventurous, independent and creative spirits. And many of them are active on social media – our FB page is a hive of reader participation.
It’s no surprise that topical storylines are popular with our readers. We aren’t afraid to tackle stories featuring heartache, marital strife and, during these past 12 months, Covid-related storylines.
With hope in my heart . . .
However, it has to be stressed, such storylines don’t revolve around the core issue or problem at hand. If that were to happen, there would be a risk of the story becoming downbeat. After all, we are in the entertainment business – it’s all about making the reader feel good about life.
Therefore, whatever obstacle a heroine or hero faces in a story can be seen as the catalyst for their development. The journey a character makes in a “Friend” story is often more rewarding than the goal at the end; the journey is where the reader will fall in love with the character.
It doesn’t matter if the story finishes with a happy ending. Life is full of knocks, and the reader doesn’t expect perfect story worlds. But always leave the reader with that all-important message of hope.
In the land of the “Friend”, the promise of a rainbow is often as strong as the rainbow itself.
Find out about Alan’s previous Zoom session with a local writers’ group.