The MTV Contest

Nearly ten years ago, the horrific terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 rocked New York City and the world. Those acts were bred from intolerance and hate; today, as the ten year anniversary of 9/11 draws near, we celebrate acceptance and the value of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. MTV and Figment have teamed up to bring you a contest that encourages storytelling, creativity, and tolerance.

Your task: Create a story with three elements: a character another writer created, a setting another writer created, and a situation where someone must deal with intolerance.

How to enter: Visit the MTV contest page at to see the complete rules and to access the creative content needed to build your story. Here’s how the process works:

  1. Visit the Character Den at Come up with a character: Invent their name, physical features, personality, likes and dislikes, etc. Describe them in a paragraph and “deposit” the character for someone else to use. You must deposit a character in order to participate.
  2. Read everyone else’s characters and pick one to include in your story. You can include this character in any way, as a main or a supporting character. You must include another user’s character in your story in some capacity.
  3. Visit the Settings Parlour at Come up with a setting, real or imaginary: Country, landscape, room, building, or city. Describe it in a paragraph and “deposit” that setting for someone else to use. You must deposit a setting in order to participate.
  4. Read everyone else’s settings and pick one to include in your story. You can include this setting in any way, as the only setting or as the setting for just one of the scenes in your story. You must include another user’s setting in your story in some capacity.
  5. Write your entry (no more than 1,000 words) as a Figment writing and hit Publish Now
  6. On the “Details” tab, put MTVAct in Tags
  7. Put the name of the creators of your setting and character in the Description (along with whatever else you choose)
  8. Create a cover on the “Cover Design” tab
  9. Your entry will show up on the “Contest Entries” tab at This may take up to three hours.

If you have any questions about how to enter, feel free to email

The deadline is August 31st, 2011. You can vote for an entry by hearting it until September 4th, 2011, when the top 10 entries will be sent to a panel of MTV and Figment judges comprised of YA author Maureen Johnson, musician Kenna, and author Melissa de la Cruz. The three winners will be announced on September 9th, 2011; each will receive an Apple iPad and be published on MTV Act!

80 thoughts on “The MTV Contest

  1. Oh my gosh, this is so awesome.
    and a quick question: if the character I submitted to the thread here a few weeks ago is being used as an example already, do I still have to submit one?

  2. Nevermind, I got them! Also, are we allowed to submit more than one character to the character den? I love creating characters!

  3. Excellent! this is very cool!

    One question: does this entry need to be fiction? or can it be somewhat based off a true story (just switched a bit with characters, setting, and names)?

  4. Also, I submitted a setting on the thread a few weeks ago, but I don’t see it in the setting parlour? should i submit another one (as we must submit one to enter)?

  5. It says that three people will win. Are the three winners the people did the character the setting and the person who wrote the story or is it just three people who wrote a story.

  6. Um…are we allowed to make characters/settings even if we’re not going to participate? I mean, just ’cause we like making them?

  7. I’m not accusing anyone of cheating or anything, but does it strike you guys as a little weird how fast people are getting hearts? I’ve never seen people get hearts this fast.

  8. Do we have to make it take place only where the setting is, or can we create a second one? (I’m asking this because some are extremely specific).

    And is there a word limit? (Didn’t see it anywhere, so became a bit confused).


  9. Is it okay if we deposited a character but don’t submit a contest entry?
    I don’t think I can make the deadline for this contest, though I’ll try.

  10. What happens if someone enters and wins that isn’t from the US?

    I still want to enter even without the prize – I haven’t had a contest actually appeal to me at all since the Harry Potter one. Will Figment actually do anything to stop me entering?

    • Hi Cassidy,

      Just go to “my writing” and click on the book you want to add the cover for. On the top of the gray box towards the right will be a tab that says “cover design.” There you can upload a Figment cover, or a cover of your own design. I hope this helps, and please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  11. Are you notified if your character/setting gets used? I would kind of like to see where people take my ideas or whatever. Just a thought. 🙂

    • We aren’t currently notifying people if their characters are being used, but feel free to hit the forums and connect with people who might have borrowed your submissions!

  12. I’m sad that the contest isn’t open to residents outside the U.S. but I still created a character and setting anyway. Will there be other contests in the future that will include residents outside the U.S.? I’m in Canada and only 5 minutes away from the border. So close, yet so far, y’know? 🙂

    • Hey Julie!
      So close! 🙂 We will definitely make sure everyone knows if our rules change, but for now we can only accept entries from US citizens. Let me know if you have any further questions- esteele at

  13. I agree it sucks that its US only, but I understand somewhat as well. Will Canadians and others around the world be able to enter contests again, because this is not the first contest I noticed that says US only.

    • Hi Kirstin,

      We’re unable to speak to that at the moment, but the official rules for every contest will reflect any changes, and will specify eligibility requirements. Please feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

  14. Hey, I was wondering if I can completely change my contest entry. As in, new character and setting? Would that be okay? And if so, can I keep the same hearts or would I have to start a whole new contest entry?

    • Hi Tom,

      Edits can be made to any contest entry until the deadline, but not past. So yes, you can change it as long as it’s before the deadline.

  15. Could you please specify the “…crude…language” which is not allowed in the entry? As in, which words are(n’t) allowed, how often, etc.


    • Hi Roberta,

      By crude language we mean the excessive use of profanity or vulgar phrases. For example, an entry that had nothing but profane or vulgar phrases would go against Figment guidelines, as well as contest guidelines. Occasional contextual profanity is acceptable, but must be used within reason. Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions.

    • Hi Diarmuid,

      We currently have 9 Figment badges:

      Newbie – just for signing up 🙂
      Junior Editor – written 2 reviews
      Inkslinger – Published 2 books
      Novelist – published a book 10 chapters or longer
      Cardiologist – received 5 hearts
      Bookworm – read 25 writings
      Chatterbox – posted 20 forum replies
      Wordsmith – published 10 writings
      Shares Nicely – when you update your writings on Facebook and/or Twitter 10 times.

      And one contest badge for the MTV Act contest.

      We’re working on more, too!

  16. So I know how they don’t want you to contest promote but a lot of people are promoting this contest. Is it different for this contest? Are you allowed to promote?

  17. I know I asked this before but I’m not sure you noticed 8/
    Is it okay if I deposited a character but am not writing for the contest?
    Thanks. C8

  18. I have a question. If my piece talks about parents divorcing and how the kid reacts to it and how his teachers don’t tolerate his sleeping in class (they don’t know he’s been up all night crying) and how his girlfriend tolerates his nightmares and his zoning out, does that count as a story about tolerance?

    Sorry for the run-on sentence, btw!

    • Hi Holly,

      The deadline’s passed so please try not to make any more edits. We know it’s hard to not go back and tweak things, especially at the end, so we completely understand.

  19. are you guys going to post who’s in the top ten once the contest ends? 😮 because I know I’m sitting at like 8 or 9 or 10 right now, and it’d be super helpful if you’d say who’s in the top ten so I’m not over here biting my nails tomorrow, worrying that I might’ve gotten bumped out in the last three seconds. XD;

  20. thanks maria! sorry about that…i wasn’t sure how everybody would take it if I had spelled “against” as “angst.” Quite of context in that sentence…

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