Saturday, 25 September 2010

My Weekly guidelines Sep-Nov 2010

With thanks to Patsy for forwarding these, here's the latest requirements from My Weekly, valid until Nov 20th. Hope these are readable - the formatting doesn't copy & paste into Blogger too well. Note - My Weekly are still unable to accept short story submissions from anyone who has not previously sold to them. :-(

MY WEEKLY GUIDELINES NO. 14. (Sept 23 – Nov 20 )


Hello and thanks for your continued interest in writing for My Weekly.

Firstly, for all those who are reading these guidelines online and have not received them directly from me, I’m afraid I am no longer able to consider stories from authors who have not already had an acceptance from My Weekly. I am sorry to disappoint you but my reading time is now at a premium.

Please note! This does not apply to Pocket Novel contributions. Maggie Seed, the Specials editor is always looking for new exciting stories. More info about this and Features contributions at the end of these guidelines.

To my regular contributors, I thank you very much indeed for your continuing patience and support and of course the wonderful stories I receive. Lately, we’ve had lots of positive feedback from our readers on the quality of the fiction and I can’t praise you all enough for the constant supply of entertaining themes that come my way.

Don’t despair if you haven’t heard from me lately, 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.

I am always aware that someone out there is waiting to hear from me…

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


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.

Please state in your covering letter that you’ve already had acceptances from My Weekly. This will enable the Admin team to process your manuscript when I am on holiday.

It would be a great help if you could supply 30 words of inspiration with each story?

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

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.

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 or Christmas/New Year 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!

Ö Display clear intent X Use black humour
Ö Be uplifting, have message of hope X Describe graphic violence
Ö Offer different points of view X Construct stand-up humour
Ö Have strong central characters X Rely on continuous one-liners
Ö Be evocative and atmospheric X Include overt sexuality or
Ö Use light and shade smuttiness
Ö Use natural, modern dialogue X Rely on formulaic predictability
Ö Portray relationships realistically X Construct contrived storylines
Ö Introduce humour where appropriate X Overlook punctuation/spelling
ÖTry to move the reader and grammar
Ö Uphold family values X Use unrealistic dialogue
Ö Check all facts are accurate for a specific age group
Ö Set stories in other countries X Portray one-dimensional
X Use clichéd situations and dialogue


I need a limited amount of St Valentine’s Day themes.
Other landmark dates are Shrove Tuesday and St Patrick’s day.

LONG READS (2,500 only) Please note this length has changed

- Emotionally engaging Film: Pay It Forward, Memoirs
- Light and shade Of A Geisha, Something’s
- Strong continuous plot Gotta Give; It’s A Wonderful Life;
- Intrigue Dr Zhivago Gone With The Wind
- Interwoven plot lines Novels: Anne of Green
- Complex relationships Gables
- 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 Film – Sixth Sense, The Others, The Village,
- positive, pleasant outcome The Usual Suspects,
- characters well rounded, need not all be likeable TV: Hustle, Mobile,
- revenge must not be vindictive Fallen Angels, Tales Of The Unexpected
- 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 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 (1200 words + 2000 words) Your Inspiration
I’m looking for light-hearted or very romantic themes

- believable characters Film:Truly Madly Deeply;
- unusual theme/situations Love Story; Benny and Joon,
- try not to be too predictable When Harry Met Sally
- doesn’t have to have a standard happy ending Notting Hill, Chocolat,
- engaging dialogue Ghost, Nicholas Sparks
- must still be hopeful novels.
- 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


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I was about to email Liz and ask for the latest, and this saves me pestering her.


Bernadette said...

'I am no longer able to consider stories from authors who have not already had an acceptance from My Weekly' sounds rather permanent, doesn't it? It seemed temporary before.
What a shame.

CarolB said...

Thanks for the details.
I was hoping that My Weekly would start considering new writers again.
I'm on the final revision of a story that would have fitted one of their latest requirements, but not having been accepted before I'm locked out of this market.

womagwriter said...

Bernadette - it does sound rather permanent, doesn't it? Shame.
CarolB - sorry to hear that. But I'm sure your story could be made suitable for another market, good luck with it whatever you decide.

CarolB said...

Thanks Womag, I've got an alternative to send it to.
Just hope that My Weekly gives new writers a chance in the future.

Colette McCormick said...

It does sound pretty permanant which is a pity for the likes of me who have never been published by them before.

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Honeysuckle said...

It always surprises me that My Weekly is both one of the lowest paying markets and also one of the pickiest regarding the formatting of stories and yet on top of that, must get lots and lots of subscriptions judging by the closure of the fiction slots to new writers. Why do writers submit stuff to MW when there are other markets who treat them better and pay them better? Or are they used as a last resort after stories have been sent, with suitable adaptions, to every other paying market available?

Tickle said...

I have to say that My Weekly are one of the nicest magazines I write for. Their editors are lovely. They've bought lots of my work recently (not all rejects from other mags either) and although they don't pay quite as well as say WW (they are pretty close), they pay immediately, straight into the bank.
Although TAB for instance, pay much more, there's a huge delay between acceptance and payment. If you're trying to write for a living, as I am, you have to balance receiving a nice fat pay cheque as much as 9 months away (in some of my experience) against an immediate, reasonable payment, on acceptance.
It's a shame for new writers that this market is shut to them but MW have such a small team now that I can't see how they can work it any other way.

MarlaineMarie said...

I was very happily surprised to find you while searching for Woman's World Guidelines! Nice blog and great writing! Smiling - I feel as though I've found another writing sister! I write for a lot of sites and blogs at the moment but mostly articles - sighing......... I have wanted to find my way back to fiction but those markets are dwindling here in the US! Thanks for a very informative and inspiring place to visit!

HelenMHunt said...

I find My Weekly a good magazine to write for and pleasant to deal with. Also I find that sometimes I write a story that just 'feels' like a My Weekly story, rather than any of the other magazines.

Bluestocking Mum said...

What a shame. It doesn't sound as if it will change any time soon. With CarolB - writers need to adapt to ever changing environments.

Thanks for update.