It’s a massive pleasure to welcome Della Galton on to the People’s Friend author page for June. I’ve been following Della’s stories for a long while, so now let’s get a cup of tea, and hear from one of our greatest story writers.
It’s a pleasure to welcome Della Galton to my blog today. I’ve heard you described as Queen of magazine fiction, Della, but for me you’re more like the girl next door. Although perhaps a good thing for you that you don’t live next door to me, or I’d be popping my head in every day asking, ‘what do you think of this?’ It’s lovely that you always find time to help people who are trying to write a saleable story.
I’m definitely more of a girl next door than a queen, tee hee! And thank you for asking me to visit.
S/ You’re always busy on workshops and giving helpful advice, I wonder how you find time for your own writing?
D/ To be honest, Susan, it’s with difficulty. It’s not just the talks and the workshops – I love doing these – it’s the promotion of books I find is a real time eater. As well as doing my own blog I do Twitter and Facebook. I do at least one full day a week purely on PR – possibly more. If I know I want to write a story – as I did today (well half of one) I need to start with that and not even look at social media.
S/ When you had your first acceptance for People’s Friend, how long had you been sending stories in to them?
D/ Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that it didn’t work like that. I had been writing for My Weekly for a long time and my editor there, who was Angela Gilchrist, moved over to People’s Friend. She then wrote to me and asked if I would like to try my hand at writing for the Friend. Not to say that she accepted my first story or anything, but it was what prompted me to try.
S/ You have a clear and crisp style of story writing. Not a word too many, and often the ending isn’t what I thought it would be. So how do you get away with an unpredictable ending for People’s Friend, like ‘moving in the right direction’ with June, who should have gone to Canada, to her family, then pleased herself and stayed in England?
D/ Thank you for saying so but I’m not sure my endings are that unpredictable really – not too much for The Friend anyway. I tend to write with a universal truth (something we can all relate to) in my mind and the universal truth of that particular story was that it’s OK to make a major decision and then change your mind.
S/ I enjoyed the article in the ‘Friend,’ with you, at Battersea Dogs home. Was this your idea, or did People’s Friend ask you to go there, and any plans to visit again? I hope so. Did you get your dogs from there?
D/ They asked me to go – and I must say I was absolutely delighted. I love dogs. I couldn’t go there again unless I had a vacancy for another dog though because I would fall in love with someone with four paws and that would be that. It wouldn’t matter that I didn’t have a vacancy – this has happened before. I once had three dogs and then I brought one back from Greece! I am learning to be more moderate. And no I haven’t ever got a dog from Battersea but there’s plenty of time 🙂
S/ I enjoyed the story ‘walking a tightrope’ with the girl who went back to her parents’ home. How long would you say it takes you to get a story just right for the People’s Friend?
D/ Probably about two hours to write the beginning and then two days to get the end and polish it. That’s how long it takes me to get a story right for most mags. I know that people say The Friend can be hard to write for because they have a lot of restrictions, but actually I find that it’s the opposite. I think more restrictions make for easier writing because it’s clear what you can and can’t do.
S/ Writing as you do, for a range of magazines, how would you compare writing for People’s Friend, in relation to the other women’s magazine markets?
D/ I think there can be a perception that the Friend is very cosy and won’t take anything sad, but I haven’t found that to be the case. I’ve written plenty of sad stories for them. I don’t like twee stories – I like something to happen, I like a bit of pain – that sounds awful, doesn’t it, but it’s also important to make sure the ending is hopeful and upbeat. And the other key thing to remember is that the characters have to be warm. They don’t like baddie characters very much, tee hee!
S/ Any other information you can share with us about writing for People’s Friend would be great, thank you. That little blue book is my short-story writing bible as well, and the toolbox series is fabulous. Thank you, Della, for taking time out to pop over today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY…. (Sorry, just had to say it!!)
Thank you for having me, Susan. And thanks for saying such nice things about my books. And for the birthday wishes – don’t tell anyone how old I am!
More on writing for The Friend
One day a couple of years ago I was feeling quite poorly and it was all I could do to struggle to the settee. I wanted something to read but not just any old thing. I wanted something comforting ¬¬- something that wouldn’t tax me too much, something that would make me smile and definitely nothing distressing. I had several magazines around the place as I always do, but it was The Friend that I reached for. Now that is a very good thing to bear in mind if you’re writing for them. Ask yourself these questions:
Is my story comforting? Is it easy reading? And is someone likely to be cheered and/or inspired when they have read it?
If you would like to know more about writing short stories I’d be delighted if you’d take a look at my latest book, The Short Story Writer’s Toolshed. Click here to buy or find out more.
Also, my latest novel, which is definitely not a suitable story for the People’s Friend is called Ice and a Slice. Click here to buy or find out more.
Della’s website is here
Her blog is here….http://www.dellagalton.co.uk/?page_id=28
Thank you Della for spending time to chat on the blog, I’m reading Ice and a Slice at the moment…..