Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Bad news and good news

Magazine short story writers got a shock this week when it was announced that the fiction editorial staff of Woman’s Weekly was being reduced from three to one and that only their regular writers could submit to them i.e. they are closing their doors to new writers until further notice.

I’m very happy of course that I am one of those ‘regular writers’ (it was a nail-biting time before I got the email confirming that I was – there are many writers a lot more prolific so I wasn’t complacent.) I wasn’t on the list when the same thing happened at Take a Break and My Weekly so those doors are closed to me. But it is sad that this is the trend – when money needs to be saved in magazine publishing it always seems to be fiction that suffers. 

I do hope that this is not the thin end of the wedge at WW – that they continue to publish their twelve Fiction Specials as well as the weekly issue which has two stories and a serial.

Thankfully The People’s Friend – the world’s oldest women’s magazine (founded 148 years ago and long may it continue) –still has its ‘open door’ policy of welcoming new writers and giving feedback on submissions. Once you’ve had a story accepted you are assigned an editor who will work with you. If a story is rejected they will give the reason (and, yes, ‘regular contributors’ get rejections too) or they might suggest changes, work with you to improve the story. And however many stories you’ve had published it’s always a huge thrill to get an acceptance pinging through the ether!

Between the weekly magazine, all the Specials and the annual they buy 600 stories a year ...

I am delighted to be the guest author again at their story-writing workshops, hosted by Fiction Editor Shirley Blair – in Dundee on 21 September and York on 28 September. I’ll be talking about getting ideas and developing them, with examples from my own work, and about story structure.

If that appeals to you but you’ve never read the magazine or haven’t read it for a while, I suggest you read a few current issues to see the kind of stories they are looking for –feel-good, as they have always been, and now with twenty-first-century situations and relationships.

There’s a booking coupon inside the current issue, dated 19 August, and in the next issue 26 August, and online https://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/2017/08/21/story-writing-workshops-autumn-2017/.

Maybe I’ll see you there?

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