Harris Burdick Contest

The entry and voting deadlines for this contest have been updated. You now have several more days (until Nov. 13) to submit a story —so get writing! Here’s all the info you need.

At the end of a long day, you arrive home to find a sealed envelope and homemade chocolate-chip cookies on your porch. You eat the cookies first. (Obviously.) Looking at the envelope, you notice there’s no return address. Just a scrawled H.B in the upper right-hand corner. You open the envelope.

There’s a single sheet of paper inside, with a black-and-white sketch of a room. The walls and floor of this room are all white, and a black, wrought-iron spiral staircase rises from the middle of the floor. The staircase doesn’t lead anywhere, though. It is only as tall as the room is high. In a white square of light—an open door—is a dark silhouette. Upon closer inspection of the picture, you can see that the walls are covered in thin, gray tendrils of ivy, which stretch across the floor before twining around the staircase railings, becoming a part of its twisted iron design. Underneath the picture, there is a caption:

He’d always known about the staircase. It simply hadn’t been time yet.

For this contest, your mission is to write the story implied by the drawing. You must include the picture’s caption as a sentence in your story. Entries must be 1,500 words or fewer.

How to enter:

1. Read the full rules here.
2. Sign up for an account on Figment.
3. Write your entry.
4. Tag it “HarrisBurdickContest” on the “Details” tab
5. Press “Publish Now.”
6. In about two hours or so, your story will appear among the submissions.

Entries are due by November 13, 2011, and voting will continue until November 21, when the 10 most-hearted entries will become finalists. To be eligible to win, finalists must return signed affidavits, which will be emailed to the addresses registered with their Figment accounts. Winners will be chosen by Figment staff and the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt editorial team. First place will be awarded a copy of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, a Figment tote, and an invisible ink pen. Second place will receive a copy of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick and a pair of fuzzy mustache disguise glasses. Third place will be awarded a copy of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

Need inspiration? You can read part of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick on Figment for a limited time!

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