MY WEEKLY GUIDELINES NO.7 JUNE 8 – AUG
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
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.
addressed envelopes will no longer be necessary.
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.
attention to the story lengths as they are important.
As we now edit on
screen, please take a moment to check your manuscript and ensure that:
quotes (“…”) are used for dialogue throughout
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
· 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
You can send us
your work by email to :email@example.com
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!
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
You’ll find our
present requirements overleaf, not only the types but the lengths.
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
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
DO’S √ DON’TS
clear intent X Use black humour
uplifting, have message of hope X Describe graphic violence
different points of view X Construct stand-up humour
strong central characters X Rely on continuous one-liners
evocative and atmospheric X Include overt sexuality or
√ Use light
and shade smuttiness
Use natural, modern dialogue X Rely on formulaic predictability
relationships realistically X Construct contrived
humour where appropriate X Overlook punctuation/spelling
√Try to move
the reader and grammar
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
Use clichéd situations and dialogue
Neglect continuityTHESE ARE THE TYPES OF STORIES WE NEED:
THE TYPES OF STORIES WE NEED:
Twist In The
1400 and 1600 words) Your Inspiration
- “clues” must not
be misleading Film – Sixth
pleasant outcome The
Others, The Village,
- characters well
rounded, need not all be likeable The Usual Suspects,
- revenge must not
be vindictive TV: Hustle,
Angels, Tales Of
- a nice surprise instead of a “con” Fallen
Angels, Tales of The
- ensure crime themes have emotional engagement Unexpected
(700 Words Only) Your
NB No twist
- include a
frisson of excitement, hint of passion Alan Bennett, Radio 4 play,
- character studies Victoria
- unusual, offbeat subject monologues,
- humorous Dahl’s
Tales Of The
- conversation – can
be all dialogue Unexpected, The
- a moment in time Zone
- pulse racing,
without being sexually explicit “Talking Heads”
(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,
- doesn’t have to have a standard happy
ending Ghost, Nicholas Sparks novels.
- must still be hopeful
- light and shade work well
- try to ring the changes with themes
- convincing emotions
- engaging dialogue
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrity, General Features – Susan Anderson
Looking Good – Eileen Towns email@example.com
Real Life – Audrey Patterson firstname.lastname@example.org
Cookery – Jennifer McEwan email@example.com
Travel – Gladys Sturrock firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardening – Sian Watson email@example.com
POCKET NOVELS GUIDELINES
Romance! Passion! Adventure!
Avid fans of
romantic novels can get their fix from My Weekly Pocket Novels!
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
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
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.
intrigue can feature, as long as they don’t distract from the developing
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.
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.
around 30,000 words, no more than 32,000.
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:
& Co., Ltd.,