Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau




FICTION    (for issue dates through September and November)



Hello and thank you for your interest in writing short stories for My Weekly. We have an exciting new addition to our guidelines this month.


Maggie Seed, our new My Weekly Pocket Novels Editor has provided some inspiring suggestions for what she is looking for in this genre. If you aren’t familiar with this collection this will give you an insight into what they are about and if you are familiar you’ll find Maggie’s new outlook refreshing and motivating.  

Look out for these words of wisdom after your usual category listings.


Also of interest, some guidance from our Commissioning Features Editor



Can I please remind everyone that I can consider only one manuscript per month  



For authors new to us, please take some time to study carefully the detailed descriptions and inspirational examples overleaf, which will help you tailor your short stories exactly to our current needs. We can only consider stories in the categories stated.


I’m afraid we are no longer able to return unsuccessful manuscripts or indeed enter into correspondence about their progress. If you have not heard about the fate of your story within 6 months of sending, that unfortunately means it hasn’t been successful. For this reason, please do not submit the only copy of your work.


Stamped addressed envelopes will no longer be necessary.


Unfortunately it is impossible to give individual critiques. The editor’s decision is final.


It is vital to include a summary of the piece. The category for which it is intended and the wordage should be clearly marked.


Please pay attention to the story lengths as they are important.


Happy writing!


Liz Smith

(Commissioning Fiction Editor)






As we now edit on screen, please take a moment to check your manuscript and ensure that:


·        Double quotes (“…”) are used for dialogue throughout

·        You have avoided excessive use of ellipses (…) and exclamation marks

·        There are only SINGLE spaces between words and sentences (please eliminate all unnecessary spaces).

·        To enable you to see exactly where spaces and new paragraphs occur on a Word Document, go to the tool bar at the top of your screen and find the button with the “backwards” P. It will say Show/Hide when you move your cursor over it. Clicking on this will bring up these “invisibles”.

·        If you are emailing your story, make sure it is as a Word attachment and not in the body of the email

·        You are enclosing only a SINGLE MANUSCRIPT, not several at once and that your story is in a standard plain type of 12pt.

·        All manuscripts must be type written, with accurate wordage supplied.



How Do I Submit?

You can send us your work by email to :myweekly@dcthomson.co.uk

or by post to:  The Commissioning Fiction Editor, My Weekly, D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd., 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.


If  one of your stories has been accepted already, please mark the email for the attention of Liz Smith. Most important!


For your manuscript to be considered, it’s imperative you mark prominently on your envelope or email into which category your story falls. If you don’t do this, I’m afraid your work can’t be considered.


What Are The Required Categories?

You’ll find our present requirements overleaf, not only the types but the lengths.


Will The Categories Remain The Same?

No, they will change as our stocks fill up in some areas and deplete in others. Therefore, if you have an idea that doesn’t suit our present requirements, don’t despair ­- it may do so in the future. However, please be guided by the wordage mentioned.


How Will I Know When The Categories Have Changed?

There is an expiry date at the top of the first page of these guidelines. You can then request our latest guidelines by post (please enclose an S.A.E.) or by email

Well, here are the details you’re anxiously awaiting, so get your thinking caps on and good luck!


DO’S √                                                           DON’TS X

√ Display clear intent                                        X Use black humour

√ Be uplifting, have message of hope                 X Describe graphic violence

√ Offer different points of view              X Construct stand-up humour

√ Have strong central characters                       X Rely on continuous one-liners

√ Be evocative and atmospheric                        X Include overt sexuality or

√ Use light and shade                                       smuttiness

√ Use natural, modern dialogue             X Rely on formulaic predictability

√ Portray relationships realistically                     X Construct contrived storylines

√ Introduce humour where appropriate X Overlook punctuation/spelling

√Try to move the reader                                    and grammar

√ Uphold family values                          X Use unrealistic dialogue

√ Check all facts are accurate                           for a specific age group

√ Set stories in other countries              X Portray one-dimensional


                                                                         X Use clichéd situations and dialogue              


                                                                                                                                                                                                                   X Neglect continuityTHESE ARE THE TYPES  OF STORIES WE NEED:




Twist In The Tale (between 1400 and 1600 words) Your Inspiration                                  


- “clues” must not be misleading                                                Film – Sixth Sense,

- positive, pleasant outcome                                                      The Others, The Village,

- characters well rounded, need not all be likeable                     The Usual Suspects,

- revenge must not be vindictive                                                TV: Hustle, Mobile,                                                                                                 Fallen Angels, Tales Of

- a nice surprise instead of a “con”                                            Fallen Angels, Tales of The

- ensure crime themes have emotional engagement                     Unexpected                 




Coffee Break (700 Words Only)                                           Your Inspiration

NB No twist endings please


- include a frisson of excitement, hint of passion             Alan Bennett, Radio 4                                                                                                                     play, P.G. Wodehouse;

- character studies                                                                    Victoria Wood

- unusual, offbeat subject                                                          monologues, Roald

- humorous                                                                               Dahl’s Tales Of The

- conversation – can be all dialogue                                           Unexpected, The Twilight        

- a moment in time                                                                    Zone (new version)

- pulse racing, without being sexually explicit                  “Talking Heads”





Romance (either 1200 words or 2,000)                                 Your Inspiration


- believable characters                                                              Film: Truly Madly Deeply; Love

- unusual theme situations                                                          Story; Benny and Joon, When Harry Met Sally

- try not to be too predictable                                                   Notting Hill, Chocolat,

- doesn’t have to have a standard happy ending                         Ghost, Nicholas Sparks novels.

- must still be hopeful

- inspiring

- light and shade work well

- try to ring the changes with themes

- convincing emotions

- engaging dialogue






My Weekly features are written on a commission-only basis. If you have an idea you’d like to pitch to us, please email the following:

Health – Sally Rodger srodger@dcthomson.co.uk

Celebrity, General Features – Susan Anderson sanderson@dcthomson.co.uk

Looking Good – Eileen Towns etowns@dcthomson.co.uk

Real Life – Audrey Patterson apatterson@dcthomson.co.uk

Cookery – Jennifer McEwan jmcewan@dcthomson.co.uk

Travel – Gladys Sturrock gsturrock@dcthomson.co.uk

Gardening – Sian Watson siwatson@dcthomson.co.uk








Love! Romance! Passion! Adventure!

Avid fans of romantic novels can get their fix from My Weekly Pocket Novels!

Two published every fortnight.


We look for stories with a strong, developing romance between two identifiable characters. Within the time it takes to read one of the novels, we would like the reader to share and experience the breathless/breath-taking excitement of a growing relationship.

Do: Create characters our readers can identify with, rejoice with or grieve with. They can have flaws.

Do: Thrill and intrigue the reader. You have two hours (roughly) to take the reader through a gamut of emotions and resolve the dilemma, mystery, pitfalls and obstacles.

Do: Include a heart-stopping moment! Key moments to consider: She realises she likes him; she thinks he is lost to her forever; that second-chance moment when she realises happiness can be hers…THE KISS!

Some questions you might like to answer: How can she resist him? How did he misjudge her? What kind of a woman is she?

Do: Set our pulses racing (ooh la la!) BUT remember we want passion, not pornography!

Do: Use dialogue so the reader can participate in the story’s development  rather than being told in large chunks in straight narrative.


Sometimes: There can be a secondary plot to help develop the romance. For instance, there are often complications and misunderstandings between the hero and the heroine, or there is something vital at stake, such as a child, an inheritance, a relationship etc.

Crime and intrigue can feature, as long as they don’t distract from the developing romance.

Who: Our heroines vary in age from their early twenties to middle-age and are compassionate and morally sound. They are more modern in their relationships, thoughts, feelings and experiences when the novel has a contemporary setting.

Where and When: Stories can be set anywhere in the world and can be contemporary or historical.

How: The story is usually told from the woman’s point of view, although occasionally it is from the man’s.



Please send in a synopsis and the first three chapters in manuscript form or via email.

If we wish to proceed, we will ask you to send in the full novel electronically.

Word count: around 30,000 words, no more than 32,000.

Double spacing, double quotes, single space only between full stop and next sentence.

If accepted for publication the completed novel must be presented electronically in a format compatible with ours (i.e., Word or rich text format)


Please send to:

My Weekly Pocket Novels

D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd.,

80 Kingsway East

Dundee DD4 8SL

Email: myweekly@dcthomson.co.uk



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