The Backwards Contest

Great romances seem to be everywhere. Romeo and Juliet, Tarzan and Jane, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, Jesse and Nova…

In each case, their first interactions influenced the future of their romantic relationship and where it would all lead. For this contest, inspired by Truth & Dare, we challenge you to write a romance with a little twist.

In 1000 words or less, create a short story or poem that focuses on a romantic relationship and goes backwards chronologically. Just choose a point in your characters’ relationship that you feel is a good start for your story, and work your way back to the time your characters first met. For example, Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan, follows the story of a man in reverse order – the film shows the newest events first, and the older events last. Another example would be “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan, which begins with the end of the “story.” If read in reverse order, the correct timeline of events is clear.

Here’s a rough outline of what it should look like, using Romeo and Juliet as an example:

1. You start your story with the scene where they’re dead.
2. Then you write about Juliet drinking the potion.
3. You write about the fight that took place earlier between the two families.
4. You end your story when Romeo sees Juliet at a party and falls madly in love.

The romantic relationship can take any form you like – it doesn’t have to be traditional.

How to enter:

-Create a new writing
-Tag it as backwardscontest
-Be sure to press “Publish Now”
-Wait the hour or so it sometimes takes for entries to show up BELOW.

The deadline is Sunday, May 15 at 12AM EST (Sunday going into Monday). Then YOU decide the finalists by voting on your favorite entries; you can vote until Friday, May 20th at 6pm EST. The top hearted entries will become finalists. The winner will receive a copy of Truth & Dare, an EPICAWESOME monster coin purse, a set of wildlife pencils made from recycled newspaper, and will be featured in our blog and newsletter. Good luck, Figs!


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.

56 thoughts on “The Backwards Contest

  1. Oh god, I just finished reading Romeo and Juliet in English and hated it 🙁
    I have no idea what I’ll do for this :p

  2. Romeo saw Juliet at her party. not on the street, sorry we are reading it in school right now. And this sound really fun. also I was named for Scarlett O’Hara

  3. Okay, so does the story have to make sense backwards (the way we are writing it for the contest) AND forwards (read the contest entry backwards? Which way does it need to make sense based on plot and character development and such?

    • Hi Charlotte

      It should make some sort of sense in both directions. Readers should be able to understand what’s going on in the present scene, even if they don’t know all the details. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  4. To be honest, Justin and Mei were my favorites…. 😀 Sorry, PROM was filmed at my school. I got excited seeing that.

    • Author Jennifer Knight will be judging. She’s the author of “Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder,” which is part of the TRUTH & DARE collection.

    • Yes- you can heart your story from the same account you have posted it on, but you cannot create alternate accounts or use preexisting alternate accounts to heart your own story. If you have any other questions, email me

  5. I was wondering, can we skip just a little bit? Like can we go from say, the wedding, to the second date, to the first date, to them meeting? As long as we say a lot of time has passed between the second date and the wedding?

    • As long as the arc of the entire story is reverse chronological — that the end of the story is before the beginning. So I’m going to say yes…?

    • Hi Nicole

      No promotion of any kind is allowed. This includes promoting your own entry or the entries of other users, including your friends. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

  6. Hey, could you write it about two well-known book characters that already exist? (As an example, Edward and Bella, Elizabeth and Darcy, etc).

    • You could use other characters as long as they’re creative commons/public domain. I know Edward and Bella couldn’t be used, but I think Elizabeth and Darcy are okay (creative commons wise). Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  7. Okay, so there’s the possibility that I would be disqualified if my cousin (whom I share a computer with) were to heart my story?

    • Hi Dimitri

      Entries are only disqualified if there’s an extreme number of votes coming from different accounts under the same IP. If it’s just one or two coming from the same IP, there’s no problem at all. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions or concerns.

    • Hey Taylor-
      Unfortunately, entries were due on the 15th at 12AM EST. We have to be strict about the entry times to make it fair for everyone. Feel free use the contest as a writing prompt though; I’m sure you’ll come up with something great!

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