Fiction Ed’s Blog: About Story Formatting

Shutterstock / Prostock-studio © story formatting

Something we regularly receive questions about on the Writing Hour is story formatting.

What does it mean, and does it affect how you should submit your story to the magazine?

What we mean by story formatting

Formatting simply means the way the text in your document is presented.

What does that mean, for contributors submitting to “The People’s Friend”?

How should work be presented?

We ask that all contributors submit their work as a Word document attachment, with no formatting.

That means no paragraph indents, and no headers or footers.

Paragraphs should start at the beginning of every line — so in the first line of every new paragraph, there should be no blank space between the margin and the beginning of the text.

Headers and footers

Headers and footers are the margins at the top and bottom sections of the document, which often contain page numbers, the story title, or the name of the author. Information in headers and footers is replicated throughout the document.

We prefer no headers or footers, please.

Why we don’t need story formatting

We have a dedicated Production team, here on the “Friend” — Production Editor, Judey, Jacki, and relative newbies Kirsty and Eddie.

Once we’ve scheduled a story for publication, we send it over to the Production team as part of the ‘Mix’ of all the stories for that issue.

The Production team aims to present each story in its best possible guise for publication. They double-check spelling, grammar and word counts; add write-ups; and adjust names and titles according to the other stories and serials in that issue.

They also take any formatting out at this stage as it simply isn’t necessary — so no formatting means the Team can save time.

About line spacing, fonts and page numbers

Double line spacing is best for us, please, and any legible font is fine – no smaller than 11pt.

We’re unable to accept handwritten stories, PDFs or stories copied into the body of an email.

And there’s no need for page numbers, thanks.

For more from Lucy, read her Fiction Ed’s blog by clicking here.

Planning to submit a story to “The People’s Friend”? We recommend you read the magazine to get a feel for tone, themes, and style. Click here to take out a subscription today.


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 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!