Writing Dos And Don’ts

Shutterstock / patpitchaya © Open notebook with 'Do' on one side and 'Don't' on the other, and lightbulbs.

Fiction Ed, Lucy, runs through some dos and don’ts around submitting fiction to ‘The People’s Friend’.


Do – use a pen name, if you prefer.

Don’t – forget to include your real name and your pen name on your submission.

Do – give your narrator a name.

Don’t – forget to let us know if your narrator is male or female, if it’s unclear.

Do – submit by email, either to your assigned editor, for established authors, or to friendfiction.co.uk if you’re not a published ‘Friend’ author.

Don’t – submit by post. We no longer accept postal submissions.


Do – use a legible font, at least 11pt, with double line spacing please.

Don’t – use formatting, or repeat information such as byline or story title.

Do – follow our guidelines and stick to our word counts.

Don’t – send stories of under 1000, or over 4000, words, unless it’s a Long Read (maximum 8500 words).

Do – include word count on your cover sheet. If your story has a historical setting, please make the date or era clear. A ‘log line’ is helpful – one line which sums up your story.

Don’t – forget to include contact details on each submission – name, address, email and a contact phone number.


Do – read the magazine regularly before submitting, to check the tone and content is suitable for our readers.

Don’t – send sci-fi, or anything involving unpleasantness, violence, swearing or intimacy.

Do – remember that as well as being a strong stand-alone story, your story needs to fit into a ‘mix’ of stories in an issue .

Don’t – rewrite a story without being asked. Please check with your assigned editor first. Your editor will be happy to help with writing queries.

Do – remember that we look for stories with contemporary and historical settings.

Don’t – forget that we need six contemporary stories for every one historical, in the weekly.

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!