Modern Fairy Tale Contest

How would Rapunzel’s story change if she had to dangle her hair from the top of a skyscraper instead of a tower? If Snow White was felled by taser instead of poisoned apple? If Jack had to balance climbing the beanstalk with homework, varsity soccer, and the SATs?

For the Modern Fairy Tale Contest, inspired by author Jackson Pearce’sΒ Sisters Red, a modern retelling of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, we’re asking Figmenters to take classic fables and fairy tales and see what happens when the characters and storylines are set in a contemporary context. Would magic still exist? Would mythical creatures roam the sidewalks of our cities? You’re free to decide the degree to which the original story remains intact when transported to a different time period.

How to submit:

1) Write a story of no more than 1,200 words and submit it by Sunday, May 8th and 12 AM EST.
2) Email your story to and follow Modern Fairy Tale on Figment.

We’ll announce the top finalists within the week after the contest’s end date; those submissions will be sent to author Jackson Pearce herself (you’ll also remember her as the genius behind the Writers Blok video), who will choose the winner. The winner will receive a copy of Sisters Red, a feature about them on the blog, and a copy of The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Contest Rules

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 submitted to the above email address 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. 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.

205 thoughts on “Modern Fairy Tale Contest

  1. Are we still allowed to post the story we create to our figment account as long as we don’t promote it on forums, facebook, etc.?

    • Hi M.T.

      In order to maintain the integrity of the blind voting, we ask that Figmenters not publish their entries to Figment, even if they do not promote it. Feel free to email me at if you have any more questions.

        • Hi Ambika

          After the deadline, we will post a book on Figment with the anonymous entries. After reading them, you can head over to the “Contests” page to vote in a poll for your favorite entry. We will make an announcement when the first batch of semi-finalists is posted.

      • What if I accadentaly published it? I copyed it to email and destoyed it on the figment website. Will that work?

    • Hi Loisa

      Yes, you only email it to We’re conducting blind voting for this contest, and in order to preserve the anonymity of the entries, we’re asking that Figmenters not post them on Figment.

  2. How much liberty are we allowed to take with the stories? I know that during contests the prompt is up for interpretation, but how much are we allowed to change for our stories.
    Example: Two evil cousins rather than stepsisters?

    • Hi Olivia

      You can take any liberty you like, but make sure that some part of it is at least recognizable to the readers. Readers should be able to remember the original, and notice the changes you’ve made. I hope this helps. Please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  3. Does the fairy tale have to be like the Grimm fairy tales, Cinderella, Snow White, etc. or could we do something similar to Aladdin or Robin Hood perhaps? Would that still count as a fairy tale?

    • Hi Megan

      I think Aladdin would count as a fairy tale, but I believe Robin Hood is more along the lines of a legend. Fairy tales almost always involve some sort of enchantment or magical creature, whereas a legend has some basis in factual history. I hope this helps and please feel free to email me at if you have any further questions.

  4. Since the contest is because of Sisters Red, and that is based off of Little Red Riding Hood, does that mean we can’t use Little Red Riding Hood? Thanks!
    ~ Fawkes

  5. Hi Maria,

    I’m new to figment’s contests so I’m curious as to the format of the email? How should the story be organized? Do I need to put a heading, a brief explanation of which fairy tale I’m modernizing etc?

    • Hi Anya

      You can include a brief summary if you like, especially if you think the fairy tale you’re choosing may not be easily recognizable, but it’s not required. You can include your story either in the body of the email or as Word document, and make sure the title of your work is clearly identified.

    • Hi Caterina

      I think you can definitely play with it any number of ways, but try to give it a clear direction. Please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  6. I know I just commented, but I have another question: am I allowed to mention the fairy tale in my story? As in, can the protagonist of the story say something similar to (but obviously not exact), “I picked up a copy of (insert name of fairy tale), and became nostalgic for the days that this was my favorite story.”?

    • Hi Loisa

      The prompt suggests that the protagonist should be actually part of the original fairy tale. If you can work with this in some way, and can use your idea together, that would be awesome!

  7. does it have to be famous? Can it be a disney fairytale? like ‘the little mremaid’ or something like that?

    • Hi Kasey

      You can use any fairy tale you like, as long as your readers will have an idea of what it’s about.

    • Hi Sharrone

      Fairy tales (by general consensus) usually involve some sort of magic, enchantment, magical beast or something along those lines. We’re trying to make it as open as possible so that you all have enough creative room. The only thing we do ask, though, is that the tale you choose be somewhat familiar, or at least in public domain.

      This Wikipedia article on fairy tales will hopefully offer some more clarification:

      Feel free to email me at if you have any further questions.

  8. I really will remember to include all my questions in one comment one day…

    What is a fairytale versus a legend or myth?

    • Hi Sharrona

      Haha, ask as much as you like πŸ™‚

      Legends (to my understanding) have some basis in actual (or the belief in) fact or history (like Robin Hood or Jack Straw), although there may be some fantastic element. Myths are more perplexing because they actually involve some sort of belief system, usually in an attempt to explain the creation of mankind and/or the universe (Greek/Roman gods, etc.). Fables, on the other hand, tend to be more concerned with educating the audience as to some moral. That being said, fairy tales are more along the lines of creating some fantastic story that involves magic, enchantments, and typically feature magical beasts or creatures (dwarves, giants, trolls, fairies, etc.) There also usually seems to be an evil presence that the protagonist must overcome, like an evil step-parent/sibling, or evil witch/curse.

      Does this help at all?

  9. One more question-can the people be exactly like the fairytale, but not actually it, and read the tale and realizeit’s like their life?

    • Hi Rose

      I’m interested in seeing how this would work out, but please try to stick as closely to the prompt as possible. The prompt suggests that the actual characters/tales are transported into modern times, so try to work with what you can. Feel free to email me at if you’re still unsure about this, or if you have any other questions.

    • Hi Caterina

      Because this contest is going to be run with blind judging, we ask that Figmenters not post their entries to Figment. I will be sending out confirmation emails shortly, and will explain things further in my response to your email.

    • Hi Caterina

      We have to be strict about the word limit, especially since the entries are to be emailed. Edit it down as much as you can, and if you have trouble or get stuck, feel free to email me at

    • Hi Sam

      For this contest, we would like Figmenters to stick as close to the traditional idea of a fairy tale as possible, so unfortunately a nursery rhyme would not fit the criteria. It certainly occupies that weird space between children’s tales and fairy tales, but there are certain elements fairy tales have that nursery rhymes don’t. We’re very interested in how the magical elements and characters would function in a modern society, and would like for everyone to stick as close to the prompt as possible. Feel free to email me at if you have any further questions.

    • Hi Bastille

      There are many beautiful Russian fairy tales that are in public domain, so yes – you can use them. If you’re worried we won’t know which one it is, just include the title of the fairy tale you’re working with.

  10. so, could I do like legend or labrynth? I don’t know if anyone knows those movies. but Legend has Tom Cruise and Labrynth has David Bowie in it… Could I use one of the two?

  11. Do we have to do stories? because I don’t think legend is in a story but I tihnk labrynth is…. poo…..

  12. ok so could I do one that is a movie? I can’t find the book for it though… Like Labyrinth? With David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly? Thanks! πŸ˜€

  13. Hey, question, can I add characters to the story? Like for Cinderella, I’d like to add that one of her sisters has a daughter, I could easily take the character out now, but I just wanted to make sure before I got her all wrapped up into the story. Thanks so much!

  14. Some people commented mean things on the books that were anonymously published under flip contest and people who participated could have been hurt.
    Example: “All of these stank except “Bla Bla Bla” (I’m not including the name of the book)
    I just wanted to bring it to your attention so it doesn’t happen this time.
    I was discouraged to repost my entry on figment after the contest because of those comments.
    What will you do?

    • Hi Anonymous

      Thanks so much for pointing that out to us. I’ll make sure to keep an eye on all the comments so that it doesn’t happen again. Please feel free to email me at if you have any questions about this, or if you’re concerned about a particular comment.

  15. Awesome. One more thing…does it have to have magic in it? I know in other Cindrella storys they dont have magic in it, but I just want to double check cause I know you guys are big on the fact that the fairy tale has to have magic. If it does then I wont be entering. πŸ™‚ Thanks again!

    • Hi Crazy_Writer

      it doesn’t absolutely have to have magic in it, but there should be some element that’s similar to the fairy tale. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  16. Oh good! I wont have a fairy godmother then πŸ˜€ I have a way to make her go to a fancy ‘ball’ πŸ™‚ Thank you so much!!

  17. does the fairy tale have to be famous? there are some really obscure ones that nobody’s heard of, but they’re pretty good.

    • Hi Sylvie

      You can use any fairy tale you like, but if you’re using one that you think readers won’t be familiar with, please include the title of that original tale so that they will be able to search for it. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  18. Hi. I just wanted to say this contest reminded me of a book i’ve read. The book was “The Beautiful Between” by Alyssa B Sheinmel. base on the tale rapunzel. I just wanted to mention this.

  19. I apologize for asking all of these questions, but this is my last one (I think…): When you say transported, do you mean something similar to what occurred in the movie “Ella Enchanted”? Or would the character be able to—in our version of the fairytale—-be born in modern times, instead of being transported?

    • Hi Loisa

      You can definitely do that. What we really meant by saying “transported” (and sorry for not making it clear – will fix that) was that the fairy tale should take place in modern times. It doesn’t have to be a “Back to the Future”-type scenario. I hope this helps, and feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  20. So I have a sort of a weird idea for this. It doesn’t follow the flow of the story persay, but it is definitely recognizable and people will recognize the characters and where they come from. Plus it’s told from an unorthidox point of view. Would this be alright?

  21. does “goldielocks and the three bears” count as a fairy tale? it doesn’t have any magic, but it’s got talking bears and it’s widely known…

  22. So it’s not against the rules to pick an obscure fairy tale, like “The Juniper Tree” right? If it’s not well known would it hurt your chances?

    • Hi Lisa

      We suggest choosing familiar (even if they’re not famous) tales so that it would be easier for readers to notice the changes you’re making. But you can definitely use any fairy tale you like. If you’re worried readers may have trouble knowing it, just include the title of the original tale you’re working with in your email and we’ll find some way to let readers know about it. I hope this helps, and please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions or concerns.

  23. So, how will people vote? Is it the top-hearted entries, or do people read every entry, and decide the semi-finalists?

    • Hi Kasey

      We’ll be doing blind voting for this contest, and do it for any contest where we ask you to email your entries to us. It works like this: we create a profile on Figment specifically for this contest, with the contest name as the user name. Then we create a book for each day of voting (usually three or four) and publish the entries as separate chapters. None of the entries have author names attached so they are completely anonymous. For each day, a new book will be published and a new poll will be posted in the “Contests” section of Figment. Then all you have to do is head over to that section, read the entries and cast your vote. I hope this helps, and please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  24. I scrolled through the comments and didn’t see this question, but I’m sorry if I missed it and am repeating.

    By 12am Sunday, do you mean Saturday night into Sunday or Sunday night into Monday? Thanks!

    • Hi J.D.

      Robin Hood is more legend, so try to avoid that. Merlin has been shifting from legend to fairy tale, especially within the past 20 years or so, so yes – you can use Merlin. Feel free to email me at if you have any further questions.

  25. So, do we create the story on figment, or on our email? How to we submit, and send it in? Im a bit confused, thanks to whoever can help πŸ™‚

    • Hi Claire

      For this contest, we’re asking Figmenters to send their entries to, since we’ll be doing blind voting. All you have to do is write your story according to the contest prompt, and either attach it as Word document or include it in the body of the email. In order to preserve the integrity of the blind voting, we ask that Figmenters not publish their entries on Figment. Please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  26. Would it be okay if I did something like taking the general story line of The Little Mermaid and instead of having the main characters be mermaids perhaps be regular teenage girls with some sort of twist?

  27. I’m a newbie to Figment. Can we make the cover art for our submissions or do you do it? In the usual, non-anonymous entries, do we type them in Word? I have the Final Draft Software Program. Can I use the Book of Text stationary to write the stories? Is there a particular font and size you want used? Thank you! Angel

    • Hi Angel

      Because the entries will actually be posted as chapters for one book, we won’t really be using any fancy cover art. Just the basic stuff that’s offered already on Figment (although feel free to go all out when you publish your entry after voting is over!). To keep things simple, and to avoid any issues with downloading or formatting, please send your entry either in the body of the email, or as a Word/Notepad (or plain text) attachment. Font and color don’t really matter since the Figment text box only accepts one font. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  28. Do we have to use the exact name of the main character of whatever fairytale we’re doing? Or can it be some similar?

  29. Hi,
    Just wanted to double check – the contest description says “fables or fairy tales” but all the comments here seem to be centered around fairy tales only. Is it acceptable to use a classic fable, such as one from Aesop (The Tortoise and the Hare, The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, etc) ?

  30. Can our story be only loosely based on a fairy tale as long as the fairy tale we based it on is clear?

  31. Hello,
    I’m new to Figment, but I would really like to write for this contest. I have to just email the story to the ID given above right? How will you then chose the semi finalists? Will it be through voting?

    • Hi Sharanya

      Yes, just email your entry to and you will receive a confirmation email within 48 hours. The semi-finalists are chosen by Figment staff, and then you decide who will make it to the finals by voting.

    • Hi Corrie

      You can use any fairy tale you like, no matter how famous. If you’re worried readers may not know the tale you’re working with, just include its title in your email when you send in your submission and we’ll be sure to include it.

  32. Could I have it set in history, like, say, the 1960s? Because I would like an element or two from that time period in my story. Or is it primarily 20th century?

  33. Is the word count by EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD’S word count or by Figment’s? Even hand counting my words a still get a difference of a hundred to two hundred compared to Figment’s “word count,” instead of ten or twenty with other online word counters and my word document’s own. It’s very frustrating to write within the correct word amount then realize by Figment’s standrads you had an extra hundred words or so you COULD have written.

    • Hi Arianna

      When receiving entries, we check them in Microsoft Word for word count. There will obviously be a discrepancy between different programs, but Word seems to be the most consistent. Please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  34. How closely do we have to stick to the original storyline?
    Also, Does it have to take place on Earth? Could our princess be whisked off to a distant planet by her prince?

  35. I accidently posted on Figment, but deleted it as soon as I saw that memo. Is that OK? Because I just sent in my story and really want to be in the running for this contest. But after the contest is it OK to post the story?
    -Katrina <3

  36. Do the characters’ characteristics have to be the same as in the fairy tale? Like for example, could Snow White be stuck-up? Or the Beast be really nice to begin with?
    Thanks. πŸ™‚

  37. I’m definitely going to try this contest.
    But does it have to have the actual story from the fairy tale? Or could we just use, for example, Little Red Riding Hood in a different situation?

    • Hi Ilta

      You don’t have to stick exactly to the fairy tale – we’re basically asking you to recreate it in a modern world. You could put Red in a different situation.

    • Hi Janelle

      The only thing we ask is that you make clear which tale the character is from. You can certainly have some variation on the name, though.

    • Hi Hannah

      If you can, that would be great! It helps save some confusion when posting the semi-finalists, especially if they’re all untitled >_<

    • Hi Hannah

      That’s entirely up to you. You can title it anything you like, and you can work with the story and characters any way you like. Please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  38. Will the enries first be judged by editors of this site or is it a voteing process amoung partisipants before it is sent to Jackson?

    • Hi Reader

      The semi-finalists are chosen by a team of Figment editors (Figment staff). The semi-finalists entries are then entered into a poll, and any user can vote. The top voted entries will be sent to Jackson Pearce, and she will choose the winner.

    • Hi Helena

      Yes, please email your names along with your entry, even if it’s just your Figment name. The names won’t be included along with the semi-finalist entries, but we need to know who to contact in case something comes up. Feel free to email me at if you have any otter questions or concerns.

  39. If the story is supposed to be a short story of 1,200 words, would it be okay if it was written in standard fairy tale format? Otherwise, I’m not sure I could write all of the story. Also, I’m planning on basing it off of more than one tale, but is it okay if I add elements of my own?

  40. mm.. can we kindoff change the magic of the story to a more logical explanation?

    EXAMPLE: in cinderella instead of using magic to change her rags into drsses, could we make it like her godmother is rich and buys her a whole bunch of clothes for her to try out?

  41. Umm…how do you email it? Like do you put your Figment username there, and then post the whole story in the place where you are supposed to type your content?

    • Yes, just put your username at the top, and copy & paste your entry into the body of the email (where the content normally goes). Hope this helps!

    • Hi Yael

      For this contest, we would like Figmenters to stick as close to the traditional idea of a fairy tale as possible, so unfortunately a nursery rhyme would not fit the criteria. It certainly occupies that weird space between children’s tales and fairy tales, but there are certain elements fairy tales have that nursery rhymes don’t. Feel free to email me at if you have any further questions.

  42. Hi, I just have one more question. How do we submit our entry? Do we put our names in the subject and our story in the content? Thanks.

    • Hi Vincent

      You can put your entry in the body of the email, or attach it as a Word or plaint text document. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions. Best of luck!

  43. Oh, and also, can I put a link to the Wikipedia page of the original movie because, while the movie is quite famous, I don’t think anyone’s watched it in a while and has therefore forgotten the main parts and characters.

  44. I was thinking of writing a modern twist on “The Little Mermaid” for my submission. May I base my story more closely off of the Disney version of the story as opposed to the Brothers Grimm version? Or would it be better to do something that was more closely related to the Brothers Grimm?

  45. Hi,

    Do I attach the entry as a document, or do I copy/paste it into the actual message of the e-mail?

    New at Figment and new at the contests, so I was just wondering. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Madi

      We prefer the entry in the body of the email, only to avoid not being able to open the attachment. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions or troubles. Welcome to Figment and best of luck!

  46. So, my story is 1,539 words, is this okay? I know it says it has to be nothing over 1,200 but how strict are you all going to be about the word count?

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