Sunday, 7 February 2016

Take a Break's Fiction Feast Guidelines

Below are the current fiction guidelines for this magazine (sent to me this week) Rosie, the editorail assistant says that newer writers are requested to stick to the maximum word counts listed below. 'More seasoned' authors may submit longer work. Email Rosie if you have any queries about this.

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, Iʼll drop you a line or telephone you. Please donʼt 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 Feastʼs 1 page (700 words) and 2 page (1200 words) stories. Stories of between 1200+ and 2000 max words neednʼt have a twist in the tail, but must have a compelling plot. Because Fiction Feast has so many stories, weʼre 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 — is 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 acceptance.
It can take 6-8 weeks for a decision to be made on Fiction Feast stories, so please be patient. If you havenʼt had a story returned after 10 weeks, please drop a line outlining the plot and Iʼll get back to you ASAP.
I look forward to reading your work.
GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS (Take a Break and Fiction Feast)
Basic Requirements: 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, imagine your story were being made into a film and ask yourself - would the surprise still work? We do not have a weekly 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. Itʼs 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. Many writers waste a lot of time and effort because they havenʼt done this. Please avoid straightforward romance ie, 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, u-bend...) * the policeman/woman is really a singing telegram
* a character
ʼs mysterious arrangements turn out to be for a surprise party
* the woman discovers her husband
ʼs 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

* 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
* 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
Because our stories are so short, a maximum of four characters is usually best. 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 canʼt get your story typed, write clearly in double line spacing. Please ensure your name, addresss and

telephone number — and an accurate wordcount — are on the title page; and your name and story title on subsequent pages. Please, please include a stamped addressed envelope large enough to hold your story. Self-seal envelopes are especially appreciated. Itʼs 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 4-6 weeks before a decision is made concerning your manuscript, so please be patient. If your story has not been returned after six 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 donʼt lose heart.
Stories sent for specific issues, such as Christmas, Easter, Halloweʼen etc., must be sent at least three months in advance of the issue date.
Please send stories to me, Norah McGrath (Fiction Editor), at the address below. I look forward to reading your work.
Norah McGrath
Fiction Editor
Take a Break
ʼs Fiction Feast Academic House
24-28 Oval Road
NW1 7DT 


Dolores Doolittle said...

Great - thanks for this up to the minute info, Patsy!

Carolb said...

Thanks for this update, Patsy.

Frances Garrood said...

You're very good at keeping everyone up to date. Thanks, Patsy. Btw Fiction Feast have always paid me on publication, not acceptance. Has that changed now?

Maria said...

Thank you for sharing.

Jan Baynham said...

Thank you for this, Patsy. It's good to have up-to-date guidelines.

Tamara Narayan said...

It's funny to read the list of stories to avoid. It's hard to believe some of those have been overused that much.

Colette McCormick said...

Thanks Patsy

Geraldine Ryan said...

Nobody needs their stories returned in this day and age. It's crazy still be asking writers to send SAEs!

Patsy said...

@ Frances. No, not that I've noticed. Generally stories are used fairly soon after acceptance, but when mine haven't been I've had a bit longer to wait for the payment.

@ Tamara. I suppose they don't need to have been used very often for it to be enough.

@ Geraldine. From a technology and not wasting paper and money POV I agree, but I suspect having to print and post stories goes someway to reducing the amount they receive and that might be an important consideration.

ginny swart said...

If Womans World USA can jump into the 21st Century by asking for email submissions from now on , why can't FF? WW has the whole of North America trying to get accepted so the number of emails must be huge.. I guess she just reads the first few paragraphs and makes a decision but that seems to work for her. Geraldine you are right though, I think 6 times before actually printing out and posting...Ginny

Patsy said...

I think you've answered your own question, Ginny!

Jamie Conner said...

Hi Patsy, I was hoping to send a story into Take A Break's Fiction Feast however it is 2,243 words and it states on the submission guidelines that the editor would want to call or message you before submitting. Please could you tell me what I need to do as it doesn't state her email address or any other contact details other than the address.
I would appreciate it if you could advise me on this.

Thank you


Jamie Conner

Patsy said...

As you don't have the editor's email I'm assuming you've not been published by TABFF before. If that's the case, I imagine they'd consider you a new writer to them and prefer you to send stories of 2,000 or less for now.

Could you cut this one to fit the guidelines?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an email address for Norah at Take a Break? I have not heard anything and sent my story in April.