Monday, 17 January 2011

Woman's Weekly - original ideas wanted!

A letter recently sent to regular contributors to Woman's Weekly is pleading with writers for more original, less safe or predictable stories.

They want fresh stories written in your own unique voice. Don't be afraid to be experimental, but keep it subtle. Show, don't tell. Use humour. Old themes are fine, as long as you can find a new way to use them.

Avoid:
- soppy or dated stories
- weak or flippant endings that read like the punchline to a joke
Avoid also the following overused themes:
- retired or redundant husbands getting under their wives feet
- adopted children finding their birth mothers
- brides with cold feet

WW lament that they are having to reject too many stories at present. (Not half as much as we writers lament it!) So come on everyone, write something new, something different, and send it off to Woman's Weekly!


(WW take stories of 1000-8000 words. 1000 and 2000 are the best lengths for the weekly magazine. Postal submissions only, unless WW have specifically asked you to email submissions. Address is Fiction Department, Woman’s Weekly, IPC Media, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SU. Include contact details on every page of your story as well as on the cover sheet or covering letter.)

23 comments:

Kath said...

Honestly, Womag, I've tried them again and again and all I've ever had (at best) is a "we like your style but this is a well-worn theme" - even when it isn't!! Sometimes I think there's just no pleasing them. But this is really interesting, thanks very much for posting it.

Teresa Morgan said...

I have a 'less safe' story and wonder if it would be suitable. It's about a woman in labour, who's lost her husband so is having to deal with the birth alone, plus her grief of losing her hubby. It is a happy ending - honest. But it is quite emotional.

Would it be worth just trying for the sake of a stamp?

womagwriter said...

Me too, Kath! I wrote a story about Fermat's Last Theorem once, sent it to WW and got the well-worn theme comment. *rolls eyes*

Teresa - I'd say so, yes, and good luck!

Teresa Morgan said...

Maybe I'll give it a go. Woman in labour, emotionally distraught isn't well worn is it? I just wondered that it probably isn't 'sweet' enough for a magazine. I first wrote it for a competition.

I suppose I have nothing to lose, though don't want to blacken my name or anything lol!

Geraldine Ryan said...

I would definitely try it, Teresa

Jenna Wallace said...

I've had pretty good luck with WW this year (four serials) and what I've heard from Gaynor Davies is that they're open to different locations and/or settings, something more 'exotic.' One was set in the UK, other two in the US.

Teresa, definitely give it a go!

Teresa Morgan said...

Thank you, all. Going to post it off today. I'll let you know if I'm successful!

Anonymous said...

I've sold quite a bit to WW but I must say I found this latest letter ambiguous. It doesn't really give us anything to go on.
I just sent them something different - humorous with an up-to-date setting/background - and it came winging back.

blogaboutwriting said...

I found the letter from WW inspiring and encouraging. I think it signals that they're not getting the type and quality of stories that they want/need and therefore there could be opportunities for writers they haven't published before. I've noticed a slight shift in WWFS stories over the last few months. eg: the latest issue contains a 'serious' story about a married woman who's having an affair, which I can't imagine them having printed even a year or so ago and they're putting in the odd quite 'dark' story too. Good luck to all! Helen

Barbara said...

Hi Womag, I've looked on their website and there is no sign of how much is the payment. Would you (or any of the commentators) give me a rough idea of how much per story/word/page?

Thanks!

womagwriter said...

Hi Barbara - it varies depending on story length and writer's experience, but expect to start at £100 for a one-pager from a new writer.

Must admit I've hardly sold a bean to WW, so others may have better answers for you.

blogaboutwriting said...

It's a bit better than that. I've always been offered £150 for a story less than 3000 words and then £180 once that magical figure of 3000 is reached. WWFS probably won't thank me for revealing their fees and I suspect they pay different amounts, depending on your success with them. eg: if you're a new writer, as Womag says, they probably start you off on a lower rate. But it's not bad and certainly better than some of the mags pay!

Barbara said...

womagwriter and blogaboutwriting, many thanks for that! I wanted to have a rough idea, basically to know if I should bother or not.
In fact, it's not great but it's far from horrible. Think I'll try to think of something to send them and see how it goes. :)

Jenna Wallace said...

I don't think I should reveal any specific numbers for serials (because it varies by the number of parts and by writer) but I do think the payment is worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

Same here. I've sent various stories to WW over the last few months and each one - without exception - has come back saying it's a "well-worn theme" when I really feel (without wishing to blow my own trumpet) that the stories are fresh, amusing and different. I've given up on WW and now concentrate on the other mags instead; I guess there's only so long you can flog a dead horse, huh?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and this is going to sound like sour grapes but ... I offered a serial idea to Gaynor who loved it, but chose to accept it as a 'longer' short story rather than a serial. Then she accepted another one on the same basis. Both stories were funny, with very 'off the wall' kind of humour which Gaynor said she loved. I've sent other stories to Clare with exactly the same type of humour in them, but she's rejected every single one! I guess it's true what they say about humour being subjective ...

puteh said...

Hi Jenna,
For serials, does each part have to be EXACTLY 3800 words ?
Thanks for your advice :)

womagwriter said...

Puteh - with most word count requirements the rule of thumb is to be within 10% either way of the required length.

puteh said...

Great to know,thanks :)

charmaine725 said...

Thanks ladies so much. Currently doing an OU assignment and this has inspired me to send off one of my earlier short stories to WW.

Had an Xmas theme though so it could be a bit early

Tom said...

For serials - do you have to write the whole thing or can you send a synopsis and first part?

womagwriter said...

Hi Tom - you send the idea first.

Click on the label 'Serials' on this blog and follow the links on that post for some excellent advice from serial-writers.

Anonymous said...

Well I sent in what I thought was an original idea to WW and what a surprise they didn't bother to reply