Fiction Ed’s Blog: Your Questions Answered

Shutterstock / Faizal Ramli ©

This week, I’m answering some of your recent questions for the Team.

“Has the Fiction Team gone back to the office?”

At the time of writing, we’re still working from home. Any updates will be posted via the website.

“Who thinks up the titles for your stories?”

We either use the original title provided by the author, or our Production Team may suggest an alternative; this may happen if there’s a clash with another title, or because of space constraints.

“Are submissions to your new system being read? They seem to be being rejected very quickly.”

All submissions are read – our aim is to provide our readers with the best quality fiction we can, from both published authors and writers who are new to the “Friend”.

Submissions from previously unpublished authors are being responded to promptly at the moment – more on that by clicking here.

“What historical eras can I write about?”

Full details on historical stories in the “Friend” are available by clicking here.

“What about lockdown stories?”

Stories set during the lockdown periods are fine, as long as the focus is not on coronavirus, and the story doesn’t already feel ‘dated’.

“I’ve noticed you don’t have an ‘any questions’ on the Writing Hour at the moment. Whom should I contact, if I have a question?”

Contact your assigned Editor in the first instance. Unpublished authors can email You can contact Fiction Ed Lucy on

“I haven’t heard back about my story. Has it been rejected or will you let me know?”

We’ll let you know – all stories receive a response in due course.

“If you like a seasonal story but have no room for it, do you reject it or save it for the following year?”

We may ask you to resend in a few months’ time.

“Is “The People’s Friend” interested in having LGBT or ethnically diverse characters in stories? What is your policy on diversity in general?”

 No one is excluded, in “The People’s Friend” – it’s a welcoming space for all. Always be guided by your reader – more on that here.

“Who should I email a submission to if my work was handled by Shirley in the past?”

If you haven’t already been advised of a new editor, contact Fiction Ed Lucy in the first instance (email address above).

Authors who haven’t had a successful submission in the last twelve months may be asked to submit via the new system.

 “Do you read stories on Kindles or on computer screens?”

 We’re still working from home, so it’s laptop screens at the moment.

 “Are you still accepting Christmas stories?”

Not for 2021, but we’ll start reading Christmas stories for 2022 from around April onwards.

“How will I know when my story will be published?”

Our Fiction Sneak Peek appears every Tuesday morning and confirms which stories are appearing in that week’s issue.

We also feature a Fiction Preview which is posted the day before each Special goes on sale.

“Why don’t you provide more detailed feedback on rejected stories?”

Many publications have folded, or are closed to submissions from new authors, which means that we now handle many more submissions – in the same amount of time.

To allow us to remain open to new authors, we now provide a standard response if your story has been unsuccessful – more on this here.

“Can I send serials to the new inbox?”

No – short stories only, please. Serials are best discussed with your assigned editor, in the first instance.

If you’re an author new to the “Friend”, we recommend submitting short stories first, before trying a serial.

“When my story was rejected, it said to look at the guidelines. But I’ve already read the guidelines.”

If you’re already familiar with our guidelines, our best advice  is to read the magazine regularly, and write for the reader. Best of luck!


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!