Fiction Ed’s Blog: Our Genres And Tone

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When it comes to writing for the “Friend”, there are certain rules to follow.

We work to a template, so stories should sit within 10% of these word counts – 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000, 3500 and 4000.

Stories can be historical or contemporary – set in the present day.

And we ask that stories are written in ‘Friend’-suitable genres.


So, which genres are suitable for stories which appear in the “Friend”?

Our first genre is ‘general’. Stories which reflect daily life, featuring situations which would be familiar to our readers.

Next up is romance – mature, and young. Mature romance – this could be based around finding love later in life, or after a bereavement or divorce. Young romances feature single twenty and thirtysomethings.

Cosy crime – our readers enjoy stories set around solving a crime, as long as there’s no violence shown, and no unpleasantness. We usually focus on the solving of the crime, rather than showing a crime happening in real time. When it comes to cosy crime, think about the sort of dramas ITV3 would show in the afternoon – Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Miss Marple, Inspector Morse. Really good stories, with strong characters, and an enjoyable storyline.

Readers also enjoy a story with a ‘mystery’ to solve.

Spooky – we occasionally feature stories with a ‘spooky’ or ghostly storyline, particularly if they’re set in the past. General house rules are that we’d never have direct contact or dialogue with anyone who has passed away/a ghost; also, the ‘Friend’ is often bedtime reading, so we’d never feature anything really spooky or scary.

Junior – junior stories are told from a child’s point of view.


Stories need to be written in a ‘Friend’ tone.

We can feature gritty situations, as long as there’s nothing to shock, disgust or sadden the reader, and there’s an upbeat resolution.

No bad language, no over-intimacy and a sensible, family-friend voice please.

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!