Writing Tips: Don’t Give Up!


Shutterstock / ASIF KHAN Av © Don't Give Up

Don’t give up” is a saying we hear often enough. But what does it mean in relation to writing and sending in stories?

You have to believe in yourself as a writer, and specially your writing ability. If you have sent numerous stories into magazines with no or little success, keep trying till you find a formula that works for you.

A formula in writing terms is complementing your natural story voice with a suitable genre, word count and plot.

If you love crime stories, why not try your hand at cosy crime for the “Friend”? The same applies to historical stories. But I like crime and history, I hear you say.

Then why not combine the two elements together? A story formula can change depending on the project at hand.

Find a story length that suits you, too. A lot of unsolicited manuscripts we read hover around 1200 words.

That’s fine testing ground in relation to writing a sustainable plot, but maybe a longer story of 2000 words or more will give your plot and characters more depth.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your storylines. Try new ideas on us.

The important thing to remember is there are no time constraints when it comes to creativity.

Creative freedom

One of my writers must have sent over 20 stories into the “Friend” before one was finally accepted. Determination made the difference. This gifted writer has gone on to have many more successes with the magazine.

I read a story the other day which had undertaken a few rewrites.

On this occasion, I hadn’t asked for the rewrite, but the writer thought it worth sending it in again. Why? Because the writer believed in the story/characters.

I enjoyed the story, too, in its most recent incarnation, and it’s now over with Fiction Ed Lucy.

Of course, not every rejected story merits a rewrite – for whatever reason, sometimes a story simply won’t work. But it goes back to my point about self-belief in your creative ability.

Find a winning formula that works for you.


For more writing tips from “The People’s Friend”, click here.

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”.