Here's the latest guidelines for Take A Break and Fiction Feast. Note that the weekly magazine is quite strict on length, and particularly wants twist in the tail, whereas Fiction Feast will take a much wider variety of stories. Buy a couple of copies and you'll see what I mean. I love the variety of FF fiction!
FICTION FEAST - GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS
Thank you for enquiring about submitting stories to us. We are happy to receive unsolicited manuscripts from authors, but for the present, request that these be no longer than 2,000 words. Should you wish to submit longer stories for consideration, I’ll drop you a line or telephone you. Please don’t be discouraged, as we are always on the lookout for new talent.
I enclose the Take a Break guidelines for your general assistance with presentation and plots to avoid. The basic requirements of a strong plot and a twist in the tail also hold good for Fiction Feast’s 1 page (700 words) and 2 page (1,200 words) stories. Stories of between 1200+ and 2000 max words needn’t be twist in the tail, but must have a compelling plot. Because Fiction Feast has so many stories, we’re looking for more variety in the type we publish; so, whatever the length, mystery, romance, crime, offbeat, macabre, science fiction, spooky tales - just about anything really - are welcome.
We can be flexible about story length, but as a guide our wordcounts and payment rates are:
1 Page (700 words) £200
2 Page (1200 words) £250
3-4 Pages (2,000 words) £325 to £400
All stories must be from an original idea, all your own work, not previously published in the UK and not currently on offer to any other magazine or publisher. We pay on publication.
We are looking for contemporary stories aimed at women from their mid-twenties upwards. We require 1100 - 1200 words with a strong plot and a good twist in the tail. The twist should arise out of the story, rather than from a detail kept from the reader. To check your twist is a genuine twist - not simply a deception -imagine your story were being made into a film and ask yourself - would the surprise still work? If it wouldn't, I'm afraid it's not for us.
We do not have a monthly serial, so stories must be complete.
Subject Matter: We particularly like settings and situations which readers can recognise and relate to, rather than say, country house murders or stories about drugs rings or jewel thieves. It’s essential to read several issues of the magazine to get the flavour of the type of fiction we publish before writing a story aimed at Take a Break/Fiction Feast. Many writers waste a lot of time and effort because they haven’t done this. Please avoid straightforward romance i.e. boy meets girl and they live happily ever after. Also avoid historical backgrounds, science fiction and stories narrated by animals or small children. Take a Break is a family magazine so graphic murders or sex crimes are never acceptable.
Common plots to avoid:
* the heroine/narrator is revealed to be a cat, dog, fox, car (or tree…or whatever).
* the policeman/woman is really a strippogram/singing telegram
*a character’s mysterious arrangements turn out to be for a surprise party – not an aff
* a shifty antiques dealer dupes an old lady out of what he thinks is a priceless antique and it turns out she is making them by the dozen
* the woman discovers her husband’s secret lover is a man, or vice versa
* the murder victim ends up on a compost heap
* anything to do with poisonous mushrooms or tampering with car brakes
* anything to do with twins or nosy neighbours
* someone nervous about a first day at school turns out to be the teacher; or about a wedding, the vicar; or an interview, the interviewer
* anything to do with bumping off elderly elatives for the inheritance, in fact wills in general are best avoided
Because our stories are so short, a maximum of four characters is usually best with the main character - a woman.
Stories must be your own idea and original work, previously unpublished and not on offer to any other magazine or publisher at the time sent to us. Should your story be accepted we will probably have to edit it.
Presentation: Typed manuscripts are preferred, but if you can’t get your story typed, write clearly in double line spacing. Please ensure your name, address, e-mail address (if you have one) and telephone number are on the title page together with an accurate wordcount. Y our name and story title should also appear on all subsequent pages.
Please, please include a stamped addressed envelope large enough to hold your story. Self-seal envelopes are especially appreciated. It’s advisable to keep a copy your story to guard against the remote chance of loss. Features and articles should be sent directly to the Features Department with a covering letter. It can take 10-12 weeks before a decision is made concerning your manuscript, so please be patient. If your story has not been returned after ten weeks, please drop me a line giving me the story title, a brief synopsis of the plot and the date sent. I will get back to you ASAP. Should your story be rejected it may be we have already published or have in stock a similar story. More likely though, I feel it will not appeal to our readers. This does not necessarily mean I will not like another of your stories, so, don’t lose heart.
Seasonal Stories sent for specific issues, such as Christmas, Easter, Hallowe’en etc., must be sent at least four months in advance of the issue date.
It can take 10-12 weeks for a decision to be made on Fiction Feast stories, so please be patient. If you haven’t had a story returned after 12 weeks, please drop a line outlining the plot and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Please send stories to me, Norah McGrath (Fiction Editor), at the address below:
I look forward to reading your work.
24-28 Oval Road
Interesting list of plots to avoid, isn't it? Some are pretty specific. I quite like the idea of the little old lady fabricating antiques to con the cons. Then perhaps she should get her comeuppance by way of poisonous mushrooms and end up on a compost heap...