Reading Promise Contest

Every Father's Day, I give my father an herb. Yeah, I know. Maybe I should switch to DVDs.

Candles on your Thanksgiving turkey. A milkmaid statue that keeps getting aggressively regifted between your family members. An Easter egg hunt where you pretend to be dinosaurs (thanks, Ellen, now we know how weird you are).

We all have unique traditions with our friends and family. Now they can be put to use as inspiration for this contest!

In her memoir The Reading Promise, Alice Ozma describes how over the course of her childhood, her father read to her every night, without skipping a day. The tradition was only broken when Alice went to college.

Your challenge: In fewer than 1500 words, write about the day a longstanding tradition is broken. Super Bonus Points: We’ll also be randomly selecting a winner out of people who choose to write about a tradition involving a father and a daughter.

How to Enter:

1) Read the Contest Rules as stated on the bottom of this post
2) Create your broken traditions-y piece
3) Email your entry in the body of an email to
4) Follow Reading Promise Contest on Figment.

Entries must be received by Monday, June 20th, 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 a copy of The Reading Promise and some of Alice’s favorite books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Adventures of Sherlock Homes; you’ll also be featured in our blog and newsletter. Good luck, figlitees!

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 according to the instructions above 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 book must be created for the contest; adapting an old work 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.

70 thoughts on “Reading Promise Contest

  1. Does the tradition have to be between two people, or perhaps a tradition which has been persistent in a culture or religion for thousands of years that this person breaks.

  2. So just to be sure…

    We’ll still be in the running if the story doesn’t involve a father/daughter tradition? If it’s just a break in a tradition?

  3. If our entry is about a similar tradition, is that bad? The only tradition my family’s ever had is when my dad and I read the Harry Potter books.

  4. Maria, are you getting annoyed at us for posting questions here instead of at your email? That’s just the vibe I’m getting from all the “Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.” =)

    • Hi Delaney

      You don’t have to include your pen name if the email you’re using is the one associated with your Figment account. Please make sure your entry has a title, though.

  5. Can it be real, or does it have to be fiction? Could it be a combination of the two?
    Must the tradition be broken, or could it be dramatically changed instead?
    And would always promising and reassuring that something won’t happen be a tradition? I’m guessing the answer to that one is no, but I just want to be sure.

    • It can be real, fiction, or a combination of the two. Dramatically changing a tradition is similar to breaking it, so: sure. And the definition of tradition can be pretty broad, but tradition is defined as “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom),” so I’d try to keep it close to that.

  6. So, I have a father daughter tradition I used to do with my dad, is it ok to use that? And you said there will be another winner from the people who do father daughter traditions, so does that mean there will be two? If so, can both be father daughter traditions, or just the randomly selected one? Sorry, I have lotsa questions 🙂

  7. Can the father in the father-daughter tradition be more of a fill-in father? For instance, maybe her father is dead or estranged or something, and she has a tradition with a man who plays the role of father in her life. Would that count for a father-daughter tradition? Thanks! 🙂

  8. Okay. Another question. What if I want to re-use a title I had on a story on here that I deleted? It’s still a new story, but I want to use the title.

  9. Can the promise be re-made at the end if the two characters who made the promise are both unaware that they’re re-making the promise?

  10. Okay, so I sent in the wrong copy of my entry before, and I sent in the right copy today… will I be disqualified or what?

  11. Hi, Guys! Since I previously wrote something matching the description perfectly, can I enter it? Thanks so much!

      • Thanks for getting back to me! I don’t think I’ll enter this contest, but thanks for the confirmation, I’ll remember that!

  12. If I send my entry in the body of the email and there are three sections, but there are no chapters or anything and the sections are just delineated by extra blank line spaces, will that formatting be maintained *if* 😛 my story is published, or should I separate the sections with an asterisk or something to make it extra clear?
    Sorry, this is my first contest and I want to get it right ;)…Thanks!!!

    • Hi Quincy

      The format will definitely be maintained. As long as the marks are clearly meant to separate sections, we’ll make sure it stays the same way. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

  13. Please post soon! I’m so close to running up and down the streets, screaming from the insanity the anticipation is causing me. This happens every week; neighbors are used to it.(;

  14. When will the poll be open to public voting? I’m seriously trying not to think about it too much, but kind of hard 🙂

  15. Um so I saw the first semi finalists and then I realized I never got a confirmation letter? I sent mine in Sunday.

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