Fiction Ed’s Blog: Our Word Counts


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I’m taking a look at word counts, this week.

Whether you’re just starting out as an author, or you’re an established contributor, here’s a quick refresh on the word counts we feature in the pages of “The People’s Friend”.

Set To A Template

Stories in the weekly edition of the “Friend”, and in our Specials, fit a set template.

So to be considered, your story will need to fit one of the word counts that we feature.

Lengths We Don’t Accept

We don’t feature any fiction under 1000 words.

4000 words is the highest we go in terms of short story length – in a Special.

The only short story submissions we accept over 4000 words are for our ‘Long Read’.

This appears in every other Special, and is between 9,500 and 10, 000 words.

We also accept Pocket Novels, coming in at around 39, 500 words.

Wiggle Room

Before we get started, it’s important to note that we allow 10% wiggle room either way when it comes to story submissions.

So if you send in a story but can’t get it to below 2,200 words, for example – don’t worry! That’s still acceptable.

During the editing process, stories are occasionally cut to fit in with what’s required.

In The Weekly

Every weekly issue features seven stories.

Two are 3000 word stories, one of these being the Opener.

We have one 1200 word story. This is the story length we need fewest of, and the one we receive most of!

We have one 2000 word story, and three at 1800 words. 2000 word submissions are suitable for this slot (see ‘Wiggle Room’).

In The Special

Our shorter Special story lengths are 1000 and 1500 words.

Middle-length stories of 2000 and 2500 words are welcome.

We also feature 3000, 3500, and one story of 4000 words.

Story Starter

Hope that’s helpful!

If you’re stuck for a story, perhaps looking at these word counts can help you get started.

lucycrichton

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!