In fact, I had 55 names to write on the list, so thank you for entering and for the lovely comments and congratulations on my ‘triple whammy’. You didn’t actually have to praise me to the skies in order to be a contender but I enjoyed it, nonetheless!
The winner of the draw was GAIL RICHARDS, who was number 20 on my list and that’s the number that the random number generator produced! I’ve already been in touch with Gail and her subscription is being ordered today.
A couple of you mentioned it might be nice if I followed up my giveaway with a few tips on writing for Fiction Feast. I’m not an expert, by any means, but I’ve got a few suggestions which might help.
But firstly, have a look at the tips and submission requirements for the magazine, on the Womagwriter blog. Although some are a couple of years old now, I think much of what is stated there, still stands, so there’s no point in me repeating it all.
The only change I have noticed, is that TABFF don’t have the headers above stories that they used to have (eg: ‘Spine Tingler’, ‘Heart Breaker’, ‘Tale with a Twist’, ‘Crime Time’) and I think that reflects the fact that their stories are so varied.
It’s quite tricky to say what they want, in terms of subject matter but your story must appeal to women and your writing must be ‘upbeat’.
So, even if you’re dealing with a sad subject – death, illness or betrayal, say – the reader mustn’t be left feeling depressed at the end! Remember, you are in the entertainment business if you’re writing for the women’s magazines – so make sure your stories are entertaining!
I will add just a few pointers of my own. Apologies if some of these are very obvious but sometimes it’s easy to overlook the obvious!
1. Read every issue of the magazine. Otherwise, how can you possibly know what kind of stories they publish? It’s no good guessing. (And..er.. shouldn’t you be supporting the magazine that you want to write for? It’s monthly, it costs £1.80, which is less than a coffee these days, so it’s not going to break the bank. If you’re not prepared to do that, are you really serious about wanting to write for the magazine?).
Sometimes it’s not that easy to track down TABFF, by the way (my village shop stocks it but the bigger shops in the nearest town don’t!), so you could save yourself a lot of hassle by subscribing to it (and no, I’m not on commission!).
2. Keep it contemporary. TABFF like modern stories about modern issues. I’ve never known them to publish a story set in the past (unless it’s a ghost story).
3. Use lots of dialogue. Try starting your story with someone speaking. That way, you can’t fail to get straight into the action.
4. Try to be original. TABFF take stories that other magazines won’t touch (I know from personal experience. A couple of mine that other magazines have described as ‘weird’ and ‘downright dangerous’, were later accepted by TAB). You can be a little more controversial, sexy, cheeky..whatever you want to call it. (but only a ‘little’, mind! No erotica, no gruesome murder scenes..).
5. It’s all about the IDEA. Someone once told me that you don’t have to be a great writer to write for the womags, but you have to have lots of ideas and I think that’s true. Of course, you need to write well (don’t think that anything but your best writing will do) BUT don’t worry too much about flowery language or perfect descriptions.
If you’ve got a natty, quirky, clever and ORIGINAL idea for a story, (which obviously must still be suitable for the magazine, in terms of subject matter), then you’re more than half way there. So keep your eyes and ears open, scour the papers for human interest stories that you could use and/or think about something funny or strange that’s happened to you.
Could you fictionalise it and turn it into a story for TABFF?