Fiction Ed’s Blog: Writing A “People’s Friend” Serial

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Every weekly issue of the “Friend” features two serials – one with a contemporary setting, one historical.

If you’d like to try writing a “Friend” serial, Lucy has some suggestions to help you get started.

Try Writing Short Stories First

We suggest waiting until you’ve had some short story acceptances, before trying a serial for the first time.

The best way to familiarise yourself with the type of serials we’re looking for is to read the magazine regularly.

Start With A Synopsis

If you have an idea for a serial, the first step is to send in a synopsis.

This should be sent to your assigned editor, in the first instance.

A brief overview of the storyline is helpful, with an outline of each instalment.

A character list is useful, too, with a sentence or two on each character.

Take It One Step At A Time

Writing serials for the “Friend” is a step-by-step process.

We ask new serial authors to wait for approval of their synopsis before going ahead.

Each instalment then waits for Angela’s approval before we give the go ahead to work on subsequent instalments.

About Each Instalment

In terms of practicalities – each “Friend” serial usually features between three and eight instalments.

Each instalment is 5000 words long, and consists of three, four or five chapters, each moving the story along.

Viewpoint Characters

Each serial contains two or three viewpoint characters.

These are the characters through whose eyes the story is told.

The main viewpoint character is usually a woman.


Family themes are popular, and also give you lots of scope for developing storylines and characters.

Serials can be set anywhere.

Each instalment should end with an exciting “curtain” – one that’s going to make your reader want to know what happens next!

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!