Serial novels — novels delivered in short chapters, over a certain span of time — aren’t just for Dickens, my Figmentlings. All around the world, serialization is staging a quiet comeback, mostly because technology is giving us new and quick ways to deliver short chunks of fiction. Japanese and American cell phone novels, twitter novels, blogged novels — these kinds of terse, suspenseful stories have inspired a whole new genre of literature; a genre focused on tightly packed action, dialogue, and character descriptions, with stories that unfold over time.
Here’s your challenge. Over the course of the next month, you will need to post at least 8 chapters of a serial short story, of either prose or verse. You can post as many chapters as you like, but you must post at least 8 by April 18th at 9 PM EST. The length of these chapters is completely up to you. However! You want your readers to be gripped from chapter 1, so that they get notified when each new chapter goes up. We do recommend keeping each chapter short (remember: shorter sometimes = more engaging/attractive to readers!). Some Figmenters have already written short chapter serials, so check them out as a guide: Coppelia, Matt Reeves, and Sasha Mahabir.
What’s in those chapters? Basically, it’s completely up to you. We’ll give you a prompt each week to ensure that your writing is being done over the course of the month, and not in a massiveoneshotwordsplosion, but beyond that the theme/genre is your call.
Why are we enforcing the serialized structure? We create contest prompts to force you to write outside of your normal style and format, and we think every writer can benefit from trying their hand at a serial.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
-Create a new writing
-Tag it “serialcontest’
-Follow Serial Contest. We will follow you back so we can be notified of all of your updates.
-Update your story at least twice a week. One of the chapters you write each week MUST be in reference to the prompt we provide; the other chapter(s) will be up to you.
-By the end of the contest, April 18th at 9 PM EST, you should have at least 8 chapters posted, 4 of which will be written directly in response to our prompts.
The contest will run from today (March 21st), for four weeks until April 18th. Again, your final chapter must be posted before 9 PM on April 18th.
UPDATE: Because of confusion over the structure of the contest and because we’ve never done a serialized contest before, we are accepting any entries that conclude the contest with at least eight chapters, four of which address the prompts in the order they were assigned.
There will be three winners. One winner will be traditionally chosen; out of the ten most-hearted finalists, one will be chosen by a panel of Figmenters and Figment editors. Two winners will be chosen randomly from everyone who completes the contest. We feel very strongly that sticking it out and updating a story for a full month should be rewarded, so all three winners will receive the same prize, a choice of posters from PosterText (where they put the ENTIRE book on a poster): http://postertext.com/.
THE PROMPT FOR THIS WEEK (week of 4/11/11):
Someone or something (not necessarily human) must die or be dead.
Someone has to buy something from a toy store. (Week 1, 3/21/11)
Something made out of glass breaks (Week 2, 3/28/11)
Someone must be dancing or must witness dancing (of any kind). (Week 3, 4/4/11)
1. One entry per person, please.
2. The promotion of your contest entry is not allowed on Figment. This includes self-promotion and the promotion of other users’ contest entries in the Figment forums, the comments and reviews of stories, and the Figment Facebook page. Independent promotion on sites unrelated to Figment, like personal Facebook or Twitter accounts, is fine.
3. Works must be published between the announcement of the contest and the closure of the contest. Entries created before the start date or after the end date will not be included in the pages of contest entries and will be ineligible to win. This means a new story must be created for the contest; adapting an old story published before the start of the contest will make the entry ineligible to win.
4. The rules of the contest are both strict and open to interpretation by a moderator.
5. It is the user’s responsibility to properly tag the story so that the story appears within the contest submissions. Untagged or improperly tagged stories will not be shown with the submissions and will not be eligible to win.
6. The creation of multiple accounts to heart or otherwise vote for your contest entry on Figment is prohibited, and may result in the disqualification of that entry, the deletion of your Figment account, and/or the blocking of your IP address permanently from the site, at the moderator’s discretion.