Thursday, 15 July 2010

My Weekly guidelines July-Sept 2010

With many thanks to those who forwarded these on to me!

MY WEEKLY GUIDELINES NO. 13. ( July 14 – September 8)


Hello and thanks for your continued interest in writing for My Weekly.
As I’m sure many of you know, for the past year I have been the sole member of the Fiction buying team. It has undoubtedly been as great a challenge to you as to me. And I can only thank you very much indeed for your patience.

Don’t despair if you haven’t heard from me in the past 6 months, please believe me I haven’t forgotten you. On the contrary, I’m working hard to give you the feedback all my writers need and deserve. It’s essential to produce the best My Weekly fiction.

Please read the notes below which are printed in bold as they are very important to you and me!

Maggie Seed, our My Weekly Pocket Novels Editor, is still looking for novels so don’t forget to read her words of wisdom after your usual category listings. There’s also some info on Features.


Please get back to me if your manuscript isn’t acknowledged within two days. Sometimes my mailbox closes when I receive large files and I am then unaware of manuscripts sent.

Can I please remind everyone that I can consider only one manuscript per month from authors who have already had acceptances from My Weekly.

Email, postal addresses, phone numbers etc should be marked on the manuscript or Word document

Please pay attention to the story lengths as they are important

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

Our author box has changed. Can you please now give me 30 words about your inspiration? Please include this on your manuscript or Word document.

Do remember NOT to include any formatting such as tabs or page breakers in your Word document.

Lastly, I am not looking for any more sci-fi themes in any of the categories, at the moment.

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 typewritten, with accurate wordage supplied.

How Do I Submit?
Please send stories by email to
or by post to: The Commissioning Fiction Editor, My Weekly, D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd., 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

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!

 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


I am looking for a limited amount of Xmas/New Year stories, in all the categories, especially twist in the tale and coffee break ­– light-hearted as well as moving and heart warming (no bereavement themes, thank you!)

I have enough Hallowe’en stories in stock, but no November 5th ones

Can you please mark Xmas/New Year/Guy Fawkes’ stories clearly on your envelope or covering letter for priority reading.

LONG READS (2,500-3,000)

- Emotionally engaging
- Light and shade
- Strong continuous plot
- Intrigue
- Interwoven plot lines
- Complex relationships
- Recognisable people in recognisable situations
- Escapist
- Adventure
- Balance of surprise vs expectations

Twist In The Tale (between 1400 and 1600 words) Your Inspiration
I’m particularly looking for light-hearted themes, or very moving

- “clues” must not be misleading
- positive, pleasant outcome
- characters well rounded, need not all be likeable
- revenge must not be vindictive
- a nice surprise instead of a “con”
- ensure crime themes have emotional engagement
and some sympathetic characters.

Coffee Break (700 Words Only) Your Inspiration
I’m particularly looking for light-hearted or very moving themes

- include a frisson of excitement, hint of passion
- character studies
- unusual, offbeat subject monologues,
- humorous
- conversation – can be all dialogue
- a moment in time
- pulse racing, without being sexually explicit

Romance (1200 words + 2000 words) Your Inspiration
I’m looking for light-hearted or very romantic themes

- believable characters
- unusual theme/situations
- try not to be too predictable
- doesn’t have to have a standard happy ending
- engaging dialogue
- must still be hopeful
- inspiring
- light and shade work well
- try to ring the changes with themes
- convincing emotions


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 – Karen Byrom
Celebrity, General Features – Susan Anderson
Real Life – Sally Rodger
Fashion/beauty/diet - Audrey Patterson
Travel – Gladys Sturrock
Cookery – Alison Graves

Please address: For the Attention of Maggie Seed

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 of straight narrative.

Plot: 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. No tabs or page breakers.
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


Old Kitty said...

Thank you once again lovely womagwriter!!!

I must remove my sun hat and think christmas!

Good luck to all those submitting!!

Take care

Len said...

Thank you so much! I'm learning a lot from your blog.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks a lot for these, Womag. I'll post a link to it from my blog.

sylvia said...

Something has gone wrong with the Long Reads descriptions - there are titles mixed in with the text across the lines.

Kath said...

They still only want them from authors previously published with My Weekly, I see - wonder if that will ever change?