Fable Contest with Paulo Coelho!

“The boy’s name was Santiago.” These are the first words of the world’s most beloved modern fable, The Alchemist. This tale follows Santiago on his quest for hidden treasure by way of one or two weird-but-secretly-very-wise people, a long trip on the back of a camel, and, most importantly, a long talk with the wind. How will your fable begin? And will you find treasure at the end of it?

There’s a big treasure to be found: Figment is giving $1,000 to the winner of our fable-writing contest, judged by none other than the king of fabulists himself: Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist. (Yes, you may start hyperventilating now.)

Your challenge is to write a fable (a short story with a moral) in less than 1200 words, set in a fictional country on the day before the final battle in a devastating war. Paulo Coelho will read the finalists and decide the winner. Which is kind of like having your poem read by Robert Frost or your play read by Arthur Miller. Which is, well, amazing.

How to Enter:
1. Sign up for an account on Figment.com
2. Click on “create something new”
3. Add your fable, press “publish now” when you’re finished
4. Go to the “Details” tab
5. In “Tags,” type: fablecontest, then press “Save Details”
6. Come back to this page, and make sure your entry shows up below!

The deadline for entries is Sunday, June 19 at 11:59pm EST. Then YOU have the power to determine the 10 finalists that go to Paulo Coelho by hearting your favorite entries. Just browse below and heart as many entries as you like. Voting will continue until Friday, July 1 at 11:59pm EST. The promotion of your contest entry on Figment forums and profiles is not allowed. Please read the official rules before entering. Good luck, everyone!

170 thoughts on “Fable Contest with Paulo Coelho!

  1. I’m certainly hyperventilating! This is awesome!

    But is there a word limit? (or am I missing it)

    • You have complete freedom as long as you’re within the rules, and it fits the broad definition of a fable that we provide: “a short story with a moral.”

  2. This is going to be… interesting. To read and participate in.

    I’m just worried that people aren’t going to heart the entries out of fear that they’ll be pushing their story down.

  3. The country, does it have to be this world? Or can it be a completely imagined world?

    If it is just humans, then can they be mutated, we say that humans evolved by the time the final war happens?

    • Aea — since the prompt doesn’t limit it, then yes, it can be any world, any time period, and any creature/evolution of creature.

  4. Ok the word limits are what makes me mad. this contest totally rocks, but i need more that 1200 words!!!! ahhhhhhh

    • I legitimately don’t think that’s true. For example, one could write a six word story, such as, “To scared to move, I killed him.” That isn’t necessarily good, but it has the elements of battle, moral, etc.

  5. With such a serious contest and monetary value attached, I think you should change the rules about how the finalists are chosen. What I’ve noticed from past contests is that the entries getting most “hearted” are the ones that are offered for swaps. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with swaps, but sometimes, the swaps turn out to be a trade of hearts and not actual quality. There are also exchanges of followers going on–“I follow you if you follow me.” There are a number of Figment users who might agree with me.

    Why don’t the people at Figment choose the finalists…not have the finalists chosen from the number of hearts? The effect of the heart is honestly quickly becoming synonymous with meager exchanges of buttons that you can carelessly press. I’m tired of this. It’s idiotic that some entries are overlooked because people don’t take the time to read a NEW author’s beautiful work and choose instead to read low quality entries made by obsessive tween authors who BEG for hearts.

    • Hi Taylor

      We completely understand your concerns about this and thank you for bringing it up. We understand that the system isn’t perfect and has its flaws, but we really want the power of choosing the finalists to be with Figmenters. Feel free to contact me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any further questions or concerns.

    • Taylor, I completely agree with you. I am dying to enter this contest (Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors and having my writing read by him would be a dream), but I’m a relatively new writer on Figment and I really don’t feel like I have much of a chance. This feels like more of a popularity contest than anything–people who are well-known will, of course, garner the most hearts and people like me just won’t be read at all.

      • I agree with the popularity over quality – it is disheartening -excuse the pun!
        I would like to know, if a popular story is one of the top ten yet is awful – do you step in? I can’t imagine that Figment would pass poor quality work over to paulo. This is a wonderful oppotunity for us writers. Thanks

    • Agreed! I think heart swaps and such are kind of unfair as they don’t always reflect the quality of the work. At the same time, it is a lot of contest entries to go through for Figment staff. I’m pretty new with no followers and I highly doubt my work will get any hearts at all, even though I think it’s a good piece. So yeah I’m all for the Figment staff deciding the finalists and not the Figmenters themselves.

    • eopOh, finally, answer. I agree with you, Taylor as well. I just joined and I’m practically jumping up and down with joy while chewing my fingernails off with anxiety that I wont get any hearts because I’m new! I hope some people read newbie entries!

    • The day before should be the calendar day before. So if your battle is taking place on the 13th, you are writing about the 12th. It can be at any time on the twelfth, but it should remain the day before the battle, not the day of battle. Let me know if you have any other questions!
      And good luck πŸ™‚
      -Emily

  6. The very end of my story (as in last few paragraphs) takes place two days later, is that alright?
    (Sorry if I seem paranoid, I’m very detailed oriented)

    • Hi Miss C.

      We ask that Figmenters stick as closely to the prompt as possible, so the story must predominantly take place the day before the battle. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

  7. Probably a silly question, but does our fictional country have to be explicitly mentioned/named?
    Thanks for such an amazing opportunity πŸ™‚

    • Hi Astralhaze

      We ask that Figmenters stick as closely to the prompt as possible, so the story must predominantly take place the day before the battle. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

  8. Who gets to decide if the stories actually fit the idea of a fable? Many stories have been posted already and there are a few that seem to be very good stories, but not something that I think some would consider a fable? Will that be taken into account or will the top hearted, regardless if they’re true fables, be sent in to be judged?

  9. I entered and my entry takes place as the character is going to sleep the night of a battle, but then t kind of goes AS the battle happens, and she meets some people who died in it like her family. Would that be okay?

    • The prompt asks that the story take place the day before the battle, so I would stick as closely to the prompt as possible.

  10. I agree with Taylor above. Finding finalists by hearts is terribly unfair to writers who don’t write as much, or who don’t publicize themselves as much. In my time here, I’ve seen contest entries that are objectively terrible but have a huge number of hearts. Invariably, all the glowing praise in the comments come from family members (as evidenced by the author’s response of, for instance, “Thanks, Aunt So-and-so!”). Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve seen one of these terrible stories win a contest (though I don’t read all the winners), but it’s upsetting that a lot of the good stories don’t get a chance at having their story judged by the guest judge. It is discouraging, and I don’t find any reason, besides as a personal writing exercise, to even enter a contest judged this way, unless you already have a lot of followers or are advertising yourself on Twitter. Anyway, this is an interesting prompt, and I look forward to reading some of the good entries.

    • Hi Kristen

      We understand your concerns and definitely hear them. But since the contest is so important, especially to figgies, we would rather have Figmenters have a say in who makes it to the finals. If you see something that concerns you, or if you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at Maria@Figment.com at any time.

  11. Is it ok if my story doesn’t start on the day before, but it does end on the day before?
    And do we have to say that the final battle would be the next day?

    • The prompt suggests that everything should take place the day before, so try to stick as closely to the prompt as possible. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any questions.

  12. This is going to be the best contest EVER! I love Paulo Coelho. The Alchemist is one of my all time favorites.

  13. “Your challenge is to write a fable (a short story with a moral) in less than 1200 words, set in a fictional country on the day before the final battle in a devastating war.”

    I’m mulling over a couple ideas. Can I base parts of it off history, take names of Historical figures, part of their story, change the ending, and toss them into a fictional word?

  14. Hi!

    I was
    wondering if I could make a collaboration for the most recent contest.
    and you will probably say no….but …..(just small little trickle of
    hope…that may occur or some extraordinary miracle that won’t
    happen…)

    Sara

  15. Is it possible for the last sentence in my submission to be from the day OF the battle, and the rest from the day before? Thanks!

  16. Viewer’s choice always seems to be horrible for contests… popularity will always supersede quality. Do you think you’ll ever have a contest where finalists and winners are completely chosen by judges or moderators?

    • Hi Sydnee

      We’ve had a number of blind voting contests over the past few months, and will continue to have them in the future (the Time Travel Contest being the most recent). Because this is such a large and important contest, we really want Figmenters to have the say in who it makes it to the finals. Please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any further questions or concerns.

  17. does the moral of the story need to be something that the character learns, or can it be something that the character already knew, but the reader learns?

  18. Is Mr. Coelho going to read all the entries beforehand or is the preliminary contest just based on hearting? I really think that many people could succeed at this if it were based on the author’s writing abilities rather than popularity. If not, may I suggest looking at the number of reviews and see if the stories have good reviews? One can really tell about a story by the qualitative reviews it garners. Again, I was just wondering; quality or quantity? Especially in the case of monetary gain- a huge cash prize really should have a deserving recipient. Thanks so much, though, for taking your time and organizing this contest as well as all the others!

    • Hi Adithi

      Paulo Coelho will reviewing the top ten finalists, who will be chosen by the number of hearts. After reviewing them, he will choose the ultimate winner. We understand that users have concerns, but we really want Figmenters to choose the finalists. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions, and thanks for sharing your concerns.

  19. Alright! Well, I don’t usually participate in contests, but I thought I’d give this a try. It says a fictional country, but I was wondering how much that could be stressed. I’m thinking in the future (near or distant is unsure) of the United States, or even the world as a whole. Is this acceptable? And if not, is there something that can do to modify it to make it so?

    • I’m sorry, but the prompt says “fictional country,” and we’ll have to ask you to stick to that. The US is a real country, even if its future is uncertain.

  20. I wish they were picked by figment instead of most hearted from figmenters, it turns into a popularity contest instead of a quality contest.

  21. Noting the other complaints above(Taylor, Kristen), what if the figmenters hearted for the top 50 or so entries, and then the editors would choose the reset? That way, the figgies would have a say in the entries, and the better people out of those would have the chance to make it to the finalists.

    • I doubt that they’ll change the rules now, but that’s an excellent idea, especially regarding a contest like this one.

    • I really do agree with this idea, taking more than the ten most hearted works and then having professionals decide on the last finalists,especially for a contest like this.

      This is a great contest and I am looking forward to reading all of the entries! The Alchemist has always been my favorite book that I’ve read countless times, and each time it has provided me with insight, inspiration and motivation in my life. Kudos on this contest Figment!

  22. Now, what if the country wasn’t called the US? Perhaps, if it’s so far in the future? For example, “I don’t what this placed was called before. Something like, Usa. But now, it’s called _____.” Is that acceptable, or am I really off?

    • That’s acceptable. Then it’s not the USA anymore, it’s literally a different country. Thanks for checking in!

  23. I’m pretty sure I can tell you who will be the finalists just by looking at their follower lists… And the sad part is ALL of their writings are not that great.

  24. Nuts! We just wrote a classic fable for English class (think Aesop, ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’, etc.) and I was getting excited, thinking I could just enter that one, but I read the rules. A MODERN fable? Awww. πŸ™ (My fable was about a tree that grows up to space and dies, because he can’t breathe in space.)

    • You should still post that story on Figment, I would so read that. I myself would love to join this contest, but most people don’t read my stories. Like many people said; this will turn into a popularity contest. I would never stand a chance, since I don’t popularize myself. I just write and hope that someone will read. Therefore, I cannot enter this amazingly epic contest.

  25. My goodness. I actually did start hyperventilating when I saw that Paulo Coelho will be judging. Then I read what was in the parenthesis and started laughing rather hard.

    Getting my work read by him would be a dream come true. I will surely enter this.

    • Hi Rachel

      The story must predominantly take place the day before the battle, but can end the day of it. Just make sure you stick as closely to the prompt as possible. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any questions.

  26. Is there anyway we can have an epilogue to show the reader what happens at the battle?
    What I mean to say is that my story is mostly (like 2/3 or more) set the day before the battle, but to really get my moral one of the characters gets killed at the battle. Would it be okay to jump in the future and say, “Blablah got killed”? Thanks!

  27. Well, it’s kind of hard to explain but you know all of Aesop’s Fables have a moral? Can it be one of those, or do you have to make up your own?

    • Hi Emily

      You can create your own if you like, but can use other well-known morals. Just make sure you stick as closely to the prompt as possible.

  28. I’m a new author and I’m feeling like I don’t have much of a chance because I don’t have a lot of followers yet or anything, and people skip over my stuff just because of that. I honestly think the staff should pick the finalists, especially when such a huge prize is being offered. It’s feeling like more of a popularity contest. And I’m not saying I deserve the prize, because I probably don’t, but I’m worried someone who doesn’t deserve the money will get it because they have more followers or hearts on their other stories.

  29. @Abby Shugrue and Megan G.

    We understand that this is a concern for everyone and appreciate that you all take the time to share those concerns with us. As stated earlier, we really do think that it is much fairer for Figmenters to have control over the process rather than just a small group of staff. Please feel free to contact me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any further questions or concerns.

  30. I was just wondering if it is contest promotion to say “I would appreciate if you read my story” or “please give it a chance” in the description of a story?

  31. Wow! This is so cool and quite of a coin-incidence… I just got my summer project list. And for English, I have to read this book (I’ve never heard of it before). πŸ™‚ I’m excited to read entries but I won’t be competing. Good luck to everyone out there!

  32. is it OK if we do a continuation of a current novel that we’re writing and then say, “for a prologue see….” is that OK?

    • As long as the story predominantly takes place the day before the battle, you can have a bit of it the day of or after. Feel free to contact me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

    • We ask that Figmenters create new pieces of writing for each contest, although you can certainly use older ideas.

  33. Is it okay if part of the story takes place on or after the battle, as that is what gets my moral across.

  34. Holy *beeping* *beep* of *beep*. 1,000 dollars?? That might not be a lot of money on the broad scale of things, but damn, for a teenager that’s a lot. I am hyperventilating to the extreme, and am considering waking up early tomorrow to finish my homework so that I can start on the fable tonight!!

  35. Though the rules are unlikely to change now, for future contests surely one way to judge it and still have figmenters have their say would be to have anonomous submissions somehow where mods know who did what but those hearting don’t?
    With this kind of competition for that kind of money it is a little sad that it’s going to be a popularity contest rather than a writing one.

    • I disagree. People are on this website to write, not just for money. I am amazed that the money is at such a high sum, but there you have it. In addition, LOTS of people enter contests even without this cash prize. And there are plenty of other prizes in other contests anyways. I think that the usual amount of people (which is a very large amount) that enter contests won’t differ much from this contest. To be sure, there will be more people entering this one, but if they’re in it just for the money, they probably won’t win. That’s just my opinion though.

      Also, if we plan on taking up writing as a living (which I am), we do have to consider the money factor. Yes, I plan on writing for a living because writing is my favorite thing to do on earth, but we can’t live off writing. I’m not saying that you have to be rich to be considered successful, or that you have to be rich to survive in the world; I’m saying that writers don’t make as much money as they should, and we do have to consider money in our careers.

  36. I was wondering if my story could have three parts. The first part quickly explains the setting (like a prologue), the main part is obviously what happens before the war, and the last part is a short epilogue. Is that alright?

    • Hi Issa

      As long as the majority of the story takes place the day before the battle, you can have three parts. Feel free to contact me at Maria@FIgment.com if you have any other questions. Best of luck!

  37. This seems too good to be true. Paolo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t read The Alchemist, JUST DO IT! It’ll break your heart and put it back together and then break it again. I keep a book of quotes (don’t tell anyone) and several pages are filled with Mr. Coelho’s words. His writing is magical. I wish everyone luck! Fables can be very beautiful.

  38. Okay, you got me hyperventilating the second I saw the cover. God do I love that book! And Paulo Coelho. πŸ˜€

    Now, a quick question:
    So, it has to be the day before the battle? We can’t write anything about the day of? What about the day after? I really want the moral of the story to be taught/learned during the battle…

    Thanks. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Laura

      As long as the story predominantly takes place the day before the battle, you can include things that take place the day of or after. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any questions.

    • Hi Carys

      That’s a great suggestion, but we try to keep it to ten so the author doesn’t get overwhelmed with the pure awesomeness πŸ™‚

  39. I am concerned (like many others) about how the number of hearts determines which entries get picked. The entries should be judged based on their content, not based on how many followers and friends a person has. The fact that you told people not to advertise on figment doesn’t help a lot; people tell their friends, “Go make a figment and like my story! You don’t even have to read it.” The writing itself could be sub-par, but because that person has a lot of friends, they are more likely to win. It seems like you’re hurting the chances of new writers just getting their start. I myself am a new writer, and don’t have a lot of followers, so my story will be less likely to be picked because of that. It doesn’t even matter if a story is good or bad; it’s like high school popularity embodied in this contest. I’m sorry if I sound brash, but I believe every writer deserves a fair chance at having his/her work of art be properly judged. Thank you for your attention.

  40. I must agree with Katie. I’ve only been on figment for 2 weeks and I have 5 followers. Not a huge fan club compared to a lot of other figmenters who’ve been here for months or years.

  41. Maria,

    IN the contest rules, it says that the story must take place in a fictional country. Is it okay to mention real countries or places in the story? Also, is it okay to use a real language other than English at like one point in the story (which will be translated to English, of course)?

    • Hi Liz

      Yes, you can incorporate real countries but make sure that the actual story takes place in a fictional one. And as long as you translate the lines into English, you can use a different language. This will also count as part of the word count, even if you include it as a footnote or as a separate part of the story. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

      • Mine never says exactly where it takes place. You might infer that it was somewhere in 2011’s Middle East.
        I use the Arabian God Allah, is that okay?
        I can change it to definitely say it’s a different country, but can I use the Arabian God?

        • Hi Contestant

          Yes, you can use known religious or historical figures, but please try to make the country as fictional as possible. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

          • Thanks πŸ™‚
            I changed it completely but I do like the part about Allah so I might change it back. My new god though, says ____, the God of {country}

  42. I don’t want to badger, since the issue was brought up so many times, but I agree with Cary. I think there should be more finalists so everyone gets a fairer chance. This is such a big contest with such a big prize, and so there’s so much competition that people aren’t even really reading anymore; just hearting. Maybe there should be a panel of Figment authors or something like that, because the value of the heart is going down as we speak πŸ™

  43. Sorry, but I have another question: Are we allowed to retell a story that contains a moral? If not, then can we take the moral of that story and create it with another situation?

    • Hi Emily

      I would avoid actually retelling story – we challenge you to create something new. With that said, you can use a moral from another story and basically write it into another situation. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any questions.

  44. I have a question. Does this story have to have a really serious moral? I’m more of a comedy writer and wanted to know if the ‘moral’ could be something ridiculous like ‘never underestimate the power of stupidity’ or ‘don’t eat donuts’, etc. Is that allowed?

  45. I know this has been brought up before but…
    I agree that there should be more finalists. I mean, people should get their stories read, more then ten. I know you don’t want to overwhelm Paulo (which I totally get) but because this is such a huge, important contest, I think more people should get that chance. Maybe 15?
    Also, some people are directly promoting a contest entry or such. Direct was never allowed, but now people are like “Read either of my two newest pieces” which you now said wasn’t allowed either. I see this a lot. These people have been shooting up in hearts, which is really annoying, stressing again the need for more finalists. Nearly (not all) topics on self-promo have some contest promotion.

  46. Sorry if this has already been asked, I didn’t really want to go through all of those comments to find if it was, but does the whole story have to be all about the moral, or can it come about in the end, and then there is a moral.

    Also, do we have to clearly state the moral or can we just leave the story as it is, because I’m afraid of not having enough space left and not being able to write the moral at the end. πŸ™‚ thanks!

    • Hi Amie

      You don’t have to outright state the moral, but it should be clear. And as long as the moral is in there somewhere, it should be fine. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

  47. In the prompt it mentions that the battle of the story is to be the last (major) conflict in a ‘devastating war’. Must our story specifically record the devastating nature of this war, or is it enough if it is the final battle in a long war?

  48. What do you mean by “modern fable?” You’ve already said that the time period it is set it doesn’t matter, so is a modern fable written differently than an older fable?

    • Hi Josh

      By “modern fable” we simply mean that you somehow modernize the moral, or may it more current. You can certainly use older morals as guides for your entry, though. I hope this helps, and please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

  49. Do we have to write what the moral is at the end of the story? If so, will this affect the word count of our fable?

    • Hi Larayn

      No, you don’t specifically have to mention your moral but it should be clear what it is. If you did write it at the end, it would count towards the word count. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any questions.

  50. Alright, so having the staff read through all the entries is difficult. I get it, I really do. And this is a huge contest and of course important to Figmenters. But I think the importance of it is exactly why staff should step in here. Judging the finalists by hearts is so so biased. People with lots of followers or who promote themselves like crazy are bound to get a ton of hearts even if their work, quite frankly, sucks. New writers who don’t promote much and have few followers just won’t be finalists because they won’t get hearts. So, how about a compromise? What if the staff read through the entries and picked a larger pool of semi-finalists (50 or so?) for Figmenters to then heart up the top ten finalists for the author to read? There might still be some heart bias in the semi-finalists, but at least good entries by relatively unknown writers would get a shot.

  51. Hey, there!

    I’m excited about the fable contest, but I have one question about the whole “no-promotion thing.” If I enter a short story into this contest, am I prohibited from participating in any Swaps until the contest has come to an end, even if I don’t specifically recommend a particular work of mine in this swap?

  52. Hey, there!

    I am very excited about this fable contest! But I have one question: if I were to enter a short story into the fable contest, does that mean that I would then be prohibited from participating in any swaps until the contest is over, even if I do not recommend any particular one of my works?

    • Hi Anonymous

      If your only book is a contest entry, then no, you cannot participate in swaps. If you have other books, you can participate in swaps but cannot refer to your entry in any way. This includes asking users to read your entry in wall posts, comments and reviews on books; asking someone to read your newest or most recent work if that is a contest entry; asking users to read your only (or most recent/newest) short story or poem if it is a contest entry; asking users to read your most or least hearted entry if that is a contest entry; specifically mention your contest entry in any way during swaps, etc. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

      • Thank you very much for responding to me, Maria! I mainly asked because I like doing Swaps, but I didn’t want to accidentally do something that would disqualify me from the contest. So, thank you for providing me with more detailed info about the no-promotion rules πŸ™‚

        • It’s not a problem! We know swaps are important for getting feedback, and, as long as they don’t involve contest entries, we encourage them. Please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any questions. Best of luck!

  53. I’m about to start crying right now. I absolotuly love The Alchemist, and Paulo Coelho’s beauty with words and his symbolism. (: So Happy πŸ™‚ Good luck to everyone!

  54. I only got one heart, a contest really doesn’t work if it’s not fair, after all its not like someone is going to look at your story just because its in a list. There could be a great story out there, good enough to win the contest, but just because it’s on the wrong page or has the wrong title, it’ll never get a chance in winning, whereas some people heart stories just to get another heart back, how is that even fair?

  55. I am not a part of this contest, but I would like to say that I have heard rumours from several seperate sources that there may be a way to cheat the system for the judging of this contest. I am trying to say this with all due respect, but I would kindly ask you to review the way that you jugge the entrants, if only to put these rumours to rest. I know that this would make the juging longer, but perhaps you could judge based upon votes from figmenters that have 3 or more books/poems/stories. This would eliminate the ease of cheating, and this would also eliminate my votes for my freinds, in order to pacify any upset writers. Frankly I am upset that I have to post this when I am not even in the competition to try to quell the rumours. I thank you for your consideration, and I hope that you have a successful run with the contest.

    • Hi Patrick

      Thank you for sharing your concerns and suggestions with us. We understand that this is a huge concern for users, particularly those participating in the contest, and we take accusations of cheating very seriously. If you are concerned about something in particular regarding this, or any other, contest, please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com. I would be more than happy to look into it.

    • Hi Liam

      As long as there’s a clear moral, and as long as your story addresses the prompt, you can pretty much run with it. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

  56. Well this is a great concept and i am excited about it too…i havent sit in the competition like this before,I want to know I am from India,am i eligible?And it has to be fictional..can it be like aliens wars or other stuff…means diff ernet unrealistic world anywhere…i want to write either historical way back,or something in universe is that fine..let me knw

    • Hey Abishek-
      You can definitely write about aliens or about the past in a world that isn’t our Earth. You need to check your country’s and local area’s laws to see if you are eligible to participate. Let me know if you have any further questions- esteele at figment.com
      -Emily

  57. Hey, I wrote my fable, but the moral for it osnt exactly clear. I think it can be interpretred in different ways, ia that allowed?

    • I wouldn’t know unless I read the story, but there’s a wide range of stories under our definition of “fable,” so you’re probably OK!

  58. I know a bunch of people have said this before, but this is my first piece published and this isn’t a contest of talent, it’s a contest of who has the most followers. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to give out a thousand bucks to somebody, next time can you maybe notice the newbies?

  59. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not win this contest, even though I think I have a decent piece. I have no followers and no Figment friends. I won’t get many hearts. Barely anybody will read what I have written. I will not win. It’s disappointing that I just have to accept the fact that since I’m not very popular on this site, I’ll lose something I very much want to have a shot in. When chances like this arise, everybody should get a fair chance. Entries should be chosen by the staff based on their merit and not their authors’ popularity. It’s an extremely biased selection process and it’s very sad that I can tell you right now: I. Will. Not. Win.

  60. Ok, well, I’m entering, but I have an important question…
    My story has 1492 words. Is the 1200 word count THAT strict or is 200 more words ok? If not, I can still edit and delete some stuff…but it wont be as good.

    • Hi Sarah

      Because there are so many entires, we have to be strict about the word limit. Please try to edit it down to 1200 words or less before the deadline. Thanks!

  61. ALSO,
    I’ve noticed that every comment that expresses or stresses the fact of the hearts being added to the one with the majority of followers as “unfair” (which I agree with also that its totally biased or whatever) Have not really been answered that I’ve read. Could anyone clear that up a little bit? Because I just joined about…oh, 5 hours and have worked on my piece since. I don’t want to enter it and find out that NOBODY has read it because I’m a newbie and nobody knows me or follows me. It would be a waste–and I mean a BIG WASTE–of time. Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah

      We understand your concerns about this and appreciate your taking the time to share them with us. Because this is such a large contest, we felt it would be unfair for a very small, specific group to read entries. While having blind voting would have been ideal, moderators would not be able to vote or comment on/review any entries, which we feel is a vital part of entering contests. Contests are created with the aim of not only getting users to participate with each other, but also opening the opportunity for users to comment and review each other’s works. The rule against contest promotion was also created in order to make it more fair for users who are unable to or are uncomfortable with self-promoting. Again, we understand that the system is not perfect. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our voting systems, but unfortunately could not implement those changes in time for the contest. Please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other concerns, questions or suggestions.

  62. If we were to decide later on to make this short story part of a possible future novel–and we won the contest–what would the consequences imply, exactly? Would we have to give the money back or what?

  63. I posted my entry about twelve hours ago and it still hasn’t shown up. Was this because my entry wasn’t accepted?

  64. Hi Maria:
    I’d like to add my two cents in to this whole thing about fairness. I agree with everyone that working this like American Idol/Dancing w/the Stars with the hearts is not the best for anyone. I’ve seen some of the entries post “heart me and I’ll heart you”, and they have high numbers (take a look…there are a couple). At this moment there are around 300 entries, and no way a small staff can look at them all. My suggestion(s):
    Since this is such a big prize (I’m actually much more interested in having Mr. Coelho look at my work and hopefully evaluate it than the cash), would it make sense to bring in other vetted “readers”, with blind submissions (no names, just the submission #) to read and adjudicate the stories? Then, take the top numbers and give them to the guest (in this case, Paulo Coelho). Where you’d get the readers from is a good question, but you could have professional volunteers (editors, etc), on a rotating basis, who could also use this as a way to “find” new talent, so it could be a win-win even if the top prize is out of the question. Obviously, they are not going to be able to read 300 six minute stories each; you’d have to break it down accordingly, and for some it won’t be as fair as others, but a lot more professional than this heart way.
    as to posting the stories like you have, I’d keep that so people can discover each other, not have upset participants.

    do you have a plan to try and wee out those here who are “trading favors”?

  65. Hi Maria:
    I’d like to add my two cents in to this whole thing about fairness. I agree with everyone that working this like American Idol/Dancing w/the Stars with the hearts is not the best for anyone. I’ve seen some of the entries post “heart me and I’ll heart you”, and they have high numbers (take a look…there are a couple). At this moment there are around 300 entries, and no way a small staff can look at them all. My suggestion(s):
    Since this is such a big prize (I’m actually much more interested in having Mr. Coelho look at my work and hopefully evaluate it than the cash), would it make sense to bring in other vetted “readers”, with blind submissions (no names, just the submission #) to read and adjudicate the stories? Then, take the top numbers and give them to the guest (in this case, Paulo Coelho). Where you’d get the readers from is a good question, but you could have professional volunteers (editors, etc), on a rotating basis, who could also use this as a way to “find” new talent, so it could be a win-win even if the top prize is out of the question. Obviously, they are not going to be able to read 300 six minute stories each; you’d have to break it down accordingly, and for some it won’t be as fair as others, but a lot more professional than this heart way.
    as to posting the stories like you have, I’d keep that so people can discover each other, not have upset participants.

    do you have a plan to try and weed out those here who are “trading favors”?

    • Hi Stuart

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We understand that the system isn’t perfect, and definitely hear what every Figmenter is saying in regards to this. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our voting system, but unfortunately could not implement those changes in time for the contest. As I said, we definitely understand your concerns, and will look into what you suggested. As for contest promotion, we investigate every case we find and disqualify entries if they continue promoting after receiving warnings. If you see something that is particularly concerning, or if you have any other questions or suggestions, please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com at any time.

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