A couple of months after securing $1 million in funding, Figment, the community writing site for teens, is launching a toleration-themed writing contest with MTV. The judges include two bestselling YA authors.
The contest, which begins today and is accepting entries through August 31, is timed around the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. Contestants must write stories “about characters confronting intolerance” by using characters and settings created by other users on the site, and writing them into a situation where “someone must deal with intolerance.” In order to enter, contestants come up with a character to add to the “Character Den” and a setting to add to the “Setting Parlour,” then choose someone else’s character and setting for their own story.
The top ten finalists are decided by public voting on Figment; those finalists are then voted on by a panel of judges: Bestselling YA authors Maureen Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes) and Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods) and musician Kenna (who, FYI, was featured in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink). Three winners, announced on September 9, receive iPads, and their stories will be published on MTV’s social action blog ACT. The users who created the settings and characters will also be acknowledged with the winning entries.
Figment has run other writing contests, including one with Seventeen Magazine, but this is the largest, and MTV approached the company about it.
Some contestants might just have been a few years old when the events of 9/11 took place, but teenagers still “approach it with care and seriousness,” Figment CEO Jacob Lewis said, and intolerance is a subject that they can relate to.
Once the contest is over, “I’m sure there will be opportunities for us to highlight individual authors and stories,” Lewis said. “This is moving material that could have life outside of the competition.”