Fringe Society Contest

When things take a turn for the shady, it’s a fair bet that someone at the top is pulling the strings.

This week’s contest is inspired by the dark and dubious world of Darren Shan’s City of the Snakes. Write a story about the underbelly of a (real or fictional) society and the person who controls or rules it. Entries must be 1400 words or fewer.

How to Enter:
1) Read the Contest Rules as stated on the bottom of this post
2) Create your gritty, underbelly-y piece
3) Email your entry in the body of an email to
4) Follow Fringe Society Contest on Figment

Entries must be received by June 10th, 2011 11:59pm EST. Moderators and editors will be selecting the top semi-finalists, followed by a round of voting (by you!) to determine a winner.

Our winner will receive not one, not two- but all three of the books in The City series, in addition to having their story read and reviewed by Darren Shan!

Contest Rules

1) One entry per person, please.
2) To preserve the blind voting process please refrain posting your entries on Figment until the contest ends.
3) Works must be submitted to the above email address between the announcement of the contest and the closure of the contest.
4) The rules of the contest are both strict and open to interpretation by a moderator.

99 thoughts on “Fringe Society Contest

    • Hi Mimi

      In general terms, the underbelly of society represents groups that don’t stick to the normal conventions of society. They basically have their own separate morals and structures and operate completely outside of the mainstream. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  1. Sorry about the message on the other contest comment board. I really do love Figment, but I just had to mention what everyone else has said. I’m glad that the rules are slightly changed for this one–sounds like it will work much better.

    I love the idea of contest entries being voted by Figmenters then handed off to an author–you’re right; it gives US the power. But truth is, that power gets corrupted and in the end is not used right. I think the system that you made for this contest will work much better.

    • Just to tell you, several contests are like this. It switches between styles. It’s not that new, they’ve heard your complaint.

  2. so we are writing from the ‘perspective’ of the ‘controller’ of the society or the ‘underbellies’?

    • Hi Tom

      The prompt asks that you write about the “controller” of that society, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be from that person’s perspective. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

    • Actually, the word count for this one is longer than usual. I simpasize though with you. I’ve had to cut stuff out or wrap stuff up too quickly for these. But hey, it’s fun to enter.

  3. So, can it be like a secret society trying to stop what’s going on? And does it have to be about the ruler of the city/country, or can it be more about the founder of the society, with the other ruler just mentioned?

    • It can be any real or fictional society you like, and we ask that you focus on the ruler of that society. You can incorporate the founder if you like, but try to stick as closely to the prompt as possible. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

  4. Can it be from the point of view of a person will be in controll, so long as they are by the end of the story?

  5. Sorry if this is duplicate – Can it be from the point of view of a person will be in controll, so long as they are by the end of the story?

  6. Question about the rules: If we already have a story posted that will work, can we just take it down and then submit it for the contest?

    • Hi Emerson

      Because we are running this contest with blind voting, we ask that Figmenters not post their entries to Figment until after the winner has been chosen. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions. Best of luck!

  7. Hiya,
    Can the people who control the society be a group, not just one person? or does it have the be only one ruler?

    • Hi Megan

      Yes, please send it in the body of the email. We ask this because sometimes we’re not able to open attachments. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  8. Blast! I just finished writing a novella based around this entire concept for my senior project! I could have used an excerpt…
    Unfortunately, I’m thinking of maybe sprucing it up/trying to get it published in the future, so I’m not sure submitting an excerpt of it online is a good idea.
    Will winning stories be posted on Figment, or is it up to us to post it? I’d rather not post it at all, if possible…

    • Hi Coppelia

      Winning entries are only posted if the winner chooses to publish it to his or her profile. We do not post it on Figment on our own. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  9. Can we publish it on Figment after we submit it? I’d like to enter mine in an unofficial contest another Figgie is having on the forums…. Is this allowed? Thanks!

    • Hi Susan

      Because we’re running this contest with blind voting, we ask that Figmenters not publish their entries to Figment until the contest is over. If you see that your entry did not make it to the finals, then you can publish it before the winner is chosen. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

    • Hi Tom

      As with other contests, we have to be strict about the word limit due to the large volume of entries. If you have any concerns about this specifically, or about anything else, feel free to contact me at

  10. In my entry, there is a controller of a society, and the society isn’t approved by anyone, but they aren’t bad really. They are the ones who start the American Revolution, against the British…

  11. Does it have to be a fictional society, or can it be real? Like, could I write the story taking place in New York City, but have a fictional underbelly for it?

    • The prompt asks that you write about a person controlling a society that deviates from the norm of the mainstream. This society (or person/persons) can be real, or you can make them up. A couple of modern examples would be religious/political cults, hippies in the 60s, and punks in the 70s/80s.

      I hope this helps, and please email me at if you have any other questions.

  12. May a single family be used as a stand-in for society at large, so long as it is implied that the family’s struggles/issues are shared by the rest of society?


  13. Are we aloud to switch points of view? For example can I write at one point from the view of the controller and then switch to the view of someone from the underbelly, and then switch back and forth throughout the story?

  14. Haha I was just reading the description of the City of Snakes and I saw one of the characters was named Al, and in my story I sent in the evil ruler’s name is Al. I just thought of the first thing that came to mind, so it must be some sort of subconscious thing. That’s weird though!

  15. defines underbelly as “a hidden unpleasant or criminal part of society,” which seems to have a negative conotation. Can the underbellies of society stray from the norm in a more conservative manner, by mantaining morals that perhaps were lost or dropped?

  16. Going back to Mimi’s comment, would you say like ‘outsiders’ and ‘class systems’ and ‘rejects of society’ and such?

    • Hi Kasey

      The definition of underbelly is fairly varied, depending on which source you go to. You can definitely work with “outsiders” and “rejects of society,” as they would be included in a few of those definitions. Please feel free to contact me at if you have any other questions.

  17. So, underbelly has a negative connotation? As in the controller of the society has to have “bad secrets” as opposed to good?

  18. This is a quesstion about word count in general – If we have transitions (ex – five years later) in our story, do they count towards our word count?

  19. Hey.
    So, on the “Self-Promotion” Forum it says that contest entries are not allowed to be promoted. But if it’s a contest like this one, where it’s the moderators and not the amount of hearts that determines whether you win, are we allowed to?

    • Hi Eva

      We ask that Figmenters not publish their entries to Figment since the contest will involve blind voting. Even though this contest is blind, the same rules apply – no contest promotion is allowed anywhere on Figment, and continued promotion can result in the disqualification of an entry. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

    • Hey Eva-
      For this contest, we have a blind voting process, which means no one should know who the stories are by while they are voting. For this voting process, we ask that users do not post their stories on Figment until after the winner has been announced. So promotion should not be an issue with contest since the entries should not be on Figment until after the voting period has ended!
      Let me know if this answers your question 🙂

  20. so are we supposed to write about the ruler of a society dealing with the underbelly of the society? and is the underbelly supposed to be negative or bad or can it be good?

    • Hi Mia

      Underbelly is usually taken as bad, or at the most general very much against societal norms. The prompt asks that you write about the ruler controlling this specific underbelly society, which can be real or fictional. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

  21. ok – the prompt kind of confuses me – does the ruler have to be the ruler/leader of the society or of the underbelly part of the society?

    • Think of something along the lines of Charles Manson and the Family, not in content or history, but in structure. The society is made of people who are far outside of the mainstream and are considered misfits, and you’ll be focusing on the person that controls them. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  22. Great Contest – never read City of Snakes, but I will now, it looks great.
    Thanks for all these amazing oppotunities.

  23. Did you recieve my entry? I haven’t gotten a confirmation yet, and I sent in my entry two days ago (?)

  24. Just to be clear, the leader doesn’t have to be the leader of the group that oppresses the underbelly group, but can be the leader of the underbelly (shady or not), right?

    • Hi Grainne

      You can incorporate elements of that in your story, but the prompt asks that you focus on the ruler of that society. I would try to stick as closely to the prompt as possible. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  25. thanlyou maria may i ask one more question. 🙂
    is it okay to base your story on a leader of a society that isnt humans? 🙂 thankyou

  26. When will the blind voting begin/when do you think the entires will be posted? I’m going to be away and want to know about when they will be up.

    • Blind voting will begin tomorrow night at midnight. You can check the contests page – a poll will be posted with a link to the anonymous entries. Best of luck!

  27. It’s a little late since I already submitted, but can the society be let’s say, the top of society as a whole. Rather than a society which is aside from mainstream, one that hides within it. Sort of like the Free Masons, can it’s leader be a president or prime minister? Can it be a society hiding beneath our society? (I think that was a little repetitive)

    • Hi Brandon

      Yes, that is definitely fine, so don’t worry about having already submitted it. If you need to make any edits (either for typos or content), please send a new email that includes the edited copy of your entry, and make a quick note at the top that the new email should be accepted instead of the older one. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  28. Hello~

    I sent mine in the wee hours of the morning when I hope none of you lovely Figgies had to be working rather than sleeping, but now the entry deadline’s passed and I haven’t gotten a confirmation email. I shouldn’t be worried, right?

    • Hi Tia

      The first round of semi-finalists will go up at midnight tonight. Make sure to check the “contests” page.

  29. it says the contest ended yesterday when are the semifinalists being announced and why is the contest still on the list of the ones you can enter?

    i dont mean to be rude or anything, i love your site :]

    • Hi Amy

      it will be removed from the list in one moment. The first batch of semi-finalists will be announced at midnight tonight, so please check the “contests” page around then. I will also add it to the “vote now” list. Thanks for pointing that out!

  30. hey, is this contest still on? if it isn’t, then why is it been shown in the contests section? sorry my English is bad, so i don’t know how to play with words right. i cried when i saw that deadline was over. can somebody please help? thanks!

    • Hi Tiffany

      The Fringe Society Contest ended last Friday, and is now in the voting stage. On the right hand side of the “contests” page, you will see a list of contests currently open, and beneath will see a link to the most current voting session for previous contests. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

  31. So now that the contest is over (at least as far as I can tell haha), can we start posting our entries to the website?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *