It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like….


Shutterstock / TravnikovStudio © Red Santa hat on a sun lounger on the beach

Schools throughout the UK have started breaking up for the summer holidays.

Which, on the Fiction Desk, means it’s time to start thinking in earnest about Christmas stories!

Why Are We Asking Now?

When it comes to fiction, we’re always thinking ahead.

We generally ask for stories set seasonally to be sent in four to six months prior to a preferred publication date.

We’re asking for stories now so they’re in our inboxes once we’re ready to start reading in earnest.

If you’ve already sent in a Christmas story (or a ‘Magic Of Christmas’ story), but haven’t yet had feedback – your story is in our reading queue.

What Word Counts Are Needed?

Word counts for our December Bumper issues are very slightly different to our usual word counts.

1100; 1700; 2000; 2200; 3000; 3700 (just one 3700 per bumper issue).

Pre-Christmas, Advent And New Year

We need stories set in the run-up to Christmas, as well as those focused on the day.

Advent begins this year on Sunday, December 1.

We also need stories set around Hogmanay and New Year – for our weekly issues, and our post-Christmas Special.

A Good Mix

We’re looking for a mix of Christmas stories. Funny; reflective; poignant; traditional; modern.

Romance and cosy crime are always popular – with a Christmas setting.

Family themes are popular all-year-round, but especially over the festive season.

Traditional And Modern

Many of our readers enjoy ‘faith-based’ Christmas stories with a very traditional setting.

Historical Christmas stories are welcome, as are modern and contemporary tales.

Stories with a Scottish ‘voice’ have always been popular with ‘Friend’ readers.

Setting The Tone

Feel-good stories are welcome. Nostalgia is always popular.

Your reader should feel better for having read your story – like watching a well-loved Christmas film.

Imagining how your story would be illustrated can be helpful.

And a final, practical tip – please include the season in your file name. Eg: Word Count Title ADVENT.

Lucy Crichton

Better known as “Fiction Editor Lucy”, I am always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, I enjoy working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of “Friend” fiction!

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like….

Shutterstock / TravnikovStudio © Red Santa hat on a sun lounger on the beach

Schools throughout the UK have started breaking up for the summer holidays.

Which, on the Fiction Desk, means it’s time to start thinking in earnest about Christmas stories!

Why Are We Asking Now?

When it comes to fiction, we’re always thinking ahead.

We generally ask for stories set seasonally to be sent in four to six months prior to a preferred publication date.

We’re asking for stories now so they’re in our inboxes once we’re ready to start reading in earnest.

If you’ve already sent in a Christmas story (or a ‘Magic Of Christmas’ story), but haven’t yet had feedback – your story is in our reading queue.

What Word Counts Are Needed?

Word counts for our December Bumper issues are very slightly different to our usual word counts.

1100; 1700; 2000; 2200; 3000; 3700 (just one 3700 per bumper issue).

Pre-Christmas, Advent And New Year

We need stories set in the run-up to Christmas, as well as those focused on the day.

Advent begins this year on Sunday, December 1.

We also need stories set around Hogmanay and New Year – for our weekly issues, and our post-Christmas Special.

A Good Mix

We’re looking for a mix of Christmas stories. Funny; reflective; poignant; traditional; modern.

Romance and cosy crime are always popular – with a Christmas setting.

Family themes are popular all-year-round, but especially over the festive season.

Traditional And Modern

Many of our readers enjoy ‘faith-based’ Christmas stories with a very traditional setting.

Historical Christmas stories are welcome, as are modern and contemporary tales.

Stories with a Scottish ‘voice’ have always been popular with ‘Friend’ readers.

Setting The Tone

Feel-good stories are welcome. Nostalgia is always popular.

Your reader should feel better for having read your story – like watching a well-loved Christmas film.

Imagining how your story would be illustrated can be helpful.

And a final, practical tip – please include the season in your file name. Eg: Word Count Title ADVENT.

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