Fiction Ed’s Blog: Ready To Write A Serial?

Shutterstock / Dean Drobot ©

Lucy looks at how to get started with writing serials, for “The People’s Friend”.

Two Serials In Every Issue

Every weekly issue of the “Friend” features two serial instalments, one with a contemporary setting, and one set in days gone by.

They can be set here in the UK, or abroad.

We ask authors to have had some success with short stories before trying a serial, to make sure they’re au fait with “Friend” tone and content.

Historical Serials

Serials can be set in any historical era as far back as Tudor times.

We ask that all historical serials are researched thoroughly.

We also wouldn’t put words into the mouth of any historical character; instead, we tell the story through secondary characters.

How Many Instalments?

We welcome serials of between two and eight instalments.

We’re especially looking for longer-length serials, at the moment.

Word Count And Genre

Each instalment is around 5000 words.

Genres mirror those of our short stories – romance, cosy crime, mystery, family, and general themes.


Each instalment contains three, four or five ‘chapters’, or scenes, which move the story along and feature a mini- ‘curtain’ at the end, to keep the reader intrigued.

And each instalment finishes on a dramatic curtain.

Viewpoint Characters

Our serials are told through the eyes of two or three female ‘viewpoint’ characters, through whom the story is told.

Getting Started

Please email your editor an initial idea, in the first instance.

If your idea sounds promising, we’ll ask for a character list and full synopsis – a short overview of the serial, plus a breakdown of each chapter within each instalment.

Thorough preparation at this stage means that when it comes to writing the instalments, the framework is already there.

It also helps clarify which number of instalments would be the best fit.

Good 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!