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.
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