Tuesday, 11 May 2010

My Weekly Updated Guidelines (for Aug/Sep)

The following guidelines are hot off the computer from Liz Smith this morning. She is very apologetic about the time she is taking to get back to people, but she is now the only member of the fiction buying team. And she will definitely respond to everyone as soon as she can. She was interested in one my stories I emailed just over a year ago, but I only sent it to another magazine last week! So it may be more than six months before hearing about a sale. These are the updated guidelines (I've abridged it slightly for space).
  • Only one manuscript per month. Email, postal addresses, phone numbers etc should be marked on the manuscript
  • 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.
  • Remember NOT to include any formatting such as tabs or page breakers in your Word document.
  • Not looking for any more sci-fi themes in any of the categories, at the moment.
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)
  • 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.
  • Still low on Family stories with children at the moment – 1200 words.
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)
- 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)
  • Particularly looking for light-hearted or very moving themes
  • No surprise endings right now as I have enough
  • Include a frisson of excitement, hint of passion
  • Character studies
  • Unusual, offbeat subject
  • Humorous - conversation – can be all dialogue - a moment in time - pulse racing, without being sexually explicit
Romance (1200 words + 2000 words)
- 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

You can send your work by email to myweekly@dcthomson.co.uk or lsmith@dcthomson.co.uk or by post to: The Commissioning Fiction Editor, My Weekly, D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd., 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Most important! If one of your stories has been accepted already, please mark the email for the attention of Liz Smith.

Good luck,


Bill Kirton said...

Being the lazy sod you know I am, Rosemary, the coffee break at 700 words looks just the job. Thanks again for this.

Joanne Fox said...

Thanks for posting this Rosemary. Time to write a family story with children, I think!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

But you're such a good writer, Bill!

Good luck, Joanne - get in there quickly.

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