The women’s weeklies are jam packed with jaw-dropping and dramatic stories. Surely they aren’t something to be considered by a real writer?
These magazines do pay extremely well, sometimes offering £100 for a star letter of only a hundred words or so. True-life tales pay bigger money with some earning the story-teller a whopping £1000. Though, writing for and appearing in the magazines isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But that isn’t to say that the women’s weeklies can’t be incredibly useful in many other ways.
For Story Ideas
You only need to take a look at the front cover of one of the weeklies and story ideas will be springing up and swirling round in your mind straight away. Here’s a few recent examples:
‘Crystal Ball Spelled Disaster’ – Perhaps a fortune teller saw an impending death in the crystal ball or a secret about to be discovered. Maybe the fortune teller foretold her own fortune. What happened? Did it come true? Or was there a clever twist at the end? These are all types of story suitable for a women’s magazine or small press publication.
‘Honeymoon Terror – at 38,000ft!’ – The true-life story featured in the magazine had a happy ending but you can use your powers of imagination to turn this headline into a cracking story for a competition. Yours may feature a tragic bride or a plane crash, which leads to the discovery of an ancient civilisation.
‘The Invisible Man’ – makes for an interesting unleashing of the imagination. You could write a ghost story for a competition or women’s magazine on a lover’s revenge from the grave or a tale about someone who was thought to have disappeared but was there all the time. The possibilities are endless.
For Article Ideas
Antiques – Some magazines have pages where readers send in photos of items that they’ve had stored away for years and which they hope will turn out to be worth a fortune. Perhaps a photo of an old potty might get you thinking about doing some research on potties for an antiques magazine. Alternatively, a photo of a cricket ornament may spark an idea about writing an article on cricket memorabilia for a magazine specialising in collecting.
Animals – A few of the stories in the women’s weeklies are about man’s best friend or favourite felines. Many of them feature heroic mutts who have saved people or crazy cats who have managed to travel thousands of miles from home, but still found their way back. Your own pet may not have been so daring, but there are plenty of dog and cat magazines which invite articles about a pet’s illness or what makes an owner’s pet special to them.
For Creating that Ideal Story Setting
Sometimes a picture of a particular setting can trigger the story itself. Other times you just might need that little bit of help to bring the setting of your story alive. Flip through a few of the women’s weeklies and various settings will appear before your very eyes, from the tranquil turquoise waters of an idyllic holiday destination to a stark sterile hospital room, then on to an old snowy scene from long ago and forward to the present again and balloons, birthday cake and a dazzling disco ball above a dance floor.
For a character to come to life you need to create a picture firstly of their outward appearance, but it’s often the little touches which truly bring them alive. The women’s weeklies are full of wonderful, colourful characters. Obviously you can’t base your story on a real person from the magazine, but an idea for a character may be instigated by a face in the magazine. It may be the expression of anger on that person’s face, which sparks that interest. That anger can then be built upon. Why are they angry? Are they argumentative in general? What sort of problems do they have? What about their relationships? Strengths? Gradually, your character begins to take shape.
Some photos are taken when the person is in the middle of speaking. What are they saying? Do they have an accent? All the while, texture is being added to your character, which all serves to make them real for the reader of your story.
Only a few areas have been touched on here. The women’s weeklies are so much more than a light, frivolous read. Though, if all else fails, perhaps you can send in that tip Aunty Agnes gave you about 101 uses for old socks and earn yourself £50 into the bargain!