Writing A “Friend” Serial In 2022


Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi © writing a "Friend" serial

Thinking of writing a “Friend” serial this year? Or just curious about what’s involved?

This is the post for you!

Regular readers and contributors of the “Friend” will know a period and contemporary serial appear in each issue, offering variety.

From the ideas stage to first proposals, serials take a lot of planning. There are also rewrites to take into consideration before the all-important, final editorial approval is made.

It sounds like a long process – and it can be. However, it’s a rewarding one, too.

Writers can be limited to character development and plot with short stories. Serials, though, offer the chance to establish a more expansive form of writing; to tell longer stories, driven by their characters as well as their plot.

The purpose of this post is to encourage writers, both new and established, to get writing a “Friend” serial in 2022.

With this in mind, here are some tips to help you get started.

Top tips

  • Don’t mix your character viewpoints. It’s one viewpoint per scene or chapter in a “Friend” serial. Also, establish your viewpoints at the planning stage. That way, the odd rogue viewpoint won’t infiltrate your writing.
  • Eight instalments is the max for serials, three the minimum. The word count is 5000 for each. As with short stories, there is 10% leeway either side of this figure. Don’t worry – serials often require several rewrites before final approval. Serial writing is a good exercise in your editing skills.
  • Don’t fill your serial instalments with small scenes. This can lead them to feel disjoined. Give the readers time to enjoy the scenes you set for them. Six chapters or scenes is a good benchmark to have in mind.
  • Alter the pace depending on the storyline. Serial writing is a journey for your characters – so raise the tension when required, but also give your characters time to ponder and grow.
  • Always finish your instalments with a strong curtain. You want to leave the readers on tenterhooks. But always resolve the issue at hand in the next instalment, preferably at the start.

For more writing advice 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”.