The Weekly News prints three short stories a week. However, it is a market that is sometimes overlooked by writers targeting women’s magazines because it is published in newspaper format and can be difficult to find in the newsagent. I buy my copies in WHSmith or Tescos.
The Weekly News is aimed at a family audience of males and females across all ages. The short stories accepted for publication reflect this. It is not a market for romance or anything too ‘female’ orientated. In an interview for a past issue of Writers’ Forum Jill Finlay, the fiction editor said, “We like funny stories or happy endings but also something slightly darker, edgier – blackmail, the occasional murder – but please, more black humour than shock-you crime.”
Jill is also a fan of twist in the tale endings and topical stories.
Stories range in length from around 800 to 2000 words. They are generally written in the third person and often from a male point of view.
I studied a couple of recent issues and in the first all three stories had a twist ending although they covered different topics:
- A story that appeared to be about a manned mission to Mars turned out to be children playing a game
- A story that appeared to be about a pilot flying a plane turned out to be a man driving to the airport and back in the middle of the night to lull the baby to sleep
- A disgruntled train commuter on her last journey to work before she switched jobs – to Customer Services Manager for the train company.
In the second issue I looked at, twists were popular again:
- A supermarket car park attendant issuing cash fines to customers parking illegally in disabled spaces turns out to be an ordinary woman just pocketing the money for herself
- A lady joins the gym to get fit for her 50th birthday party but hates it. However she does find a keep fit routine that suits her and is able to make a grand entrance to the party – as a belly dancer.
- A lady in bed and unable to sleep yet again because of the noise from the party next door. She finally cracks, gets up and goes to the shed to get something before joining the party – with two bottles of wine.
Some of the plots above may have lost something in my re-telling (apologies to the authors) but you get the idea of the type of thing that Jill Finlay chooses for The Weekly News fiction pages.
Submission is by email only to firstname.lastname@example.org. Further detailed guidelines can be found on Womagwriter’s Blog.
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#1 by Helen Yendall on January 21, 2011 - 3:02 pm
Sally – this is very interesting. The story about the man who appears to be a pilot but is driving his children around to get them off to sleep, is my story ‘The Long Haul’! Although it was accepted for publication back in September, I haven’t been notified that it had been printed (I’ve not received a copy of the paper) and, possibly more importantly, I haven’t been paid either! So I’ve just sent an email off to Jill Finlay at the Weekly News! Thanks for alerting me to this! Helen
#2 by Sally Jenkins on January 21, 2011 - 8:48 pm
Helen, I know that Jill had a lot of problems with her broadband before Christmas and many of the emails that she thought had been sent were still sitting in her Draft folder. She is now working her way through re-sending them all. I’ve had two ‘belated’ emails from her in this way – one acceptance and one rejection.
#3 by Kath on April 8, 2012 - 12:30 pm
Hi – I’ve been waiting for a response on one story with the Weekly News for over a year now. I have emailed Jill but no response. As for things being accepted and published without having any contact from the editor this has happened to me with another magazine. I only knew the stories had been accepted when I looked in the magazine. I then had to chase payment for sometime before I eventually received a cheque! Not very good and a bit scary but what can we do? Good wishes Kath
#4 by Sally Jenkins on April 8, 2012 - 3:26 pm
Hi Kath – I’ve got a story outstanding with The Weekly News since last November. It is difficult to know what to do without making a nuisance of oneself.
#5 by Kath on April 9, 2012 - 12:40 pm
Hi Sally. Yes, I sometimes feel a bit of a nuisance. The problem is sometimes it is easier to get a rejection so at least it is possible to resubmit elsewhere. Kath
#6 by Jenny on May 11, 2012 - 4:02 pm
Hi, Can anyone tell me how much The Weekly News pays per article now? I found the entries above very interesting, but find it alarming that stories are being printed without the authors being told, or worse still, paid for their contributions. I think I would have to make a nuisance of myself if this was the case, after all, it does take so long and so much hard work to write a story. I mean, you wouldn’t expect to do any other job and not get paid for it. Great website, nice to meet you all 🙂
#7 by Sally Jenkins on May 11, 2012 - 7:10 pm
Hi Jenny, Thanks for dropping by. The last time I had a story in The Weekly News I think I got around £80. If you enjoy writing short stories, it’s a market worth targetting.
#8 by charliebritten on December 1, 2013 - 10:57 am
Thanks for this analysis of The Weekly News, Sally. I was about to sub a story to them but now I’m going to beef up the twist. Wish me luck.
#9 by Sally Jenkins on December 1, 2013 - 11:51 am
Best of luck, Charlie – and be prepared for a long wait before Jill Finlay, the editor, gets back to you.
#10 by alice on April 19, 2015 - 1:20 pm
I had a couple of stories published in the Weekly News… Jill kept me well informed about when they would be published… I always write a good twist at the end of my stories – as that is the kind of story I like to read myself
#11 by Sally Jenkins on April 19, 2015 - 6:28 pm
Well done on your success, Alice. Thinking up a good twist can be hard but when they pop into your head it’s wonderful!