The Girls With Grit Contest

In Groundwood Books’ Girls with Grit series, girls just like you and your friends overcome obstacles, make their voices heard, and stand up for what they believe in. Whether it’s Emma in Broken Memory, who survives the Rwandan genocide, or Sabine in earthgirl, who starts a blog and becomes an eco-warrior, these girls reflect the voices of real girls around the world who are determined to make a difference. (For a limited time, we’ll be cycling through the books in the Girls with Grit series, which you can start reading here.)

Do you have a story to tell, too? Enter the Girls with Grit Writing Contest!

We’re looking for inspiring Girls with Grit stories written by real teens like you! And the grand prize? Not too shabby, Figs. The winning entry will receive:

  • A book cover for your story, designed by a Groundwood Books designer
  • A specially printed, limited edition of your story and book cover
  • Feedback from a Groundwood Books editor
  • Your story posted on the Groundwood Books website

Three runners-up will also have their stories featured on the Groundwood Books website!

What do you have to do? Write a story between 1,500 and 3,000 words starring a girl with grit: someone who knows what she believes in and struggles to do the right thing. Submit your entry by February 29th, 2012. Then you get to decide the 20 finalists by voting on your favorite entries. The top 20 most-hearted entries will be reviewed by the Groundwood editorial team.

How to enter:

  1. Read the full rules here.
  2. Sign up for
  3. Write an original story, between 1,500 and 3,000 words, about a girl with grit and press “Publish Now”
  4. In the details tab, tag your story girlswithgrit
  5. Wait the 2 hours it sometimes takes to see your story appear below

Groundwood is also giving away Girls with Grit book prize packs in a weekly draw from now until December 6! These winners will be totally random—just fill out the form below to enter. Read the full sweepstakes rules here:

Congrats to our Sweepstakes Winners: Sam W., Delaney Higgons, Anastasia Hilton and Cat Hickenbottom!

194 thoughts on “The Girls With Grit Contest

    • I’m a little confused about what this is asking of us; I’ve heard different things. So are we supposed to write something about a totally kick-butt girl, or someone who stands up for a cause? Because I have like three different things that I could submit…

      • Hi Sophi,

        Yup! Any story, as long as it features a girl with grit. The rest is up to you! Fantasy, memoir, crime fiction, you name it.

  1. DEFINITELY GONNA ENTER! Oh, and just wanted to point out. A lot of grownups also write on Figment, so I don’t think it’s fair if they enter this contest, because it’s specifically for teens. Just a thought.
    Oh, and any genre? Limit, 3,000 words? Just getting my facts straight, in case.

    Thanks for making this contest!!

    • Hi Calamity,
      Yes, any genre, as long as it features a girl with grit! And yes, the word limit is 3,000 words. Thanks and good luck!

  2. So, baiscally a firey little chica with a spark. Awesome. I got something that’s just about done with development. Now, to write!

  3. Why are people outside of the Usa, Canada region not permitted to enter? Just curious. I am in the USA but again, just curious.

  4. Hey, can the girl stand up for something evil that she believes is right? Or does it actualy have to be ‘right’?

  5. this story doesnt have to have chapters, right? Like, can my girl explain what she went through and how she overcame it…and that would be the end?

  6. Hi. I submitted my entry two days ago and when I looked in the contest entries section of this page it was there. I checked again this morning and I didn’t see it anymore. Any reason for that?

  7. What exactly defines a girl with grit? My character isn’t exactly tough but she definitely does something important. She is a hero who goes against what her family says and instead does what she thinks. That’s ok right? And she isn’t a “girl with grit” the whole time. A lot of it is just building up to her big moment. Thanks so much!

  8. Awesome! I’m finished! My girl has some defintite spunk!!

    Oh, and Rebecca (at least i think you’re moderating this), I’ve seen TONS of people contest promoting for this. It still isn’t allowed, right?

  9. Could the girl in the story be weak in the beginning and gradually get stronger?
    Also, is it okay to post a story and keep building on it or does it have to be submitted all at once?

  10. Okay, I posted this before, but it’s lost somewhere in cyberspace, so I’m going to ask it again. This is totally hypothetical, but if, for some contest, we had written the story prior to the contest…existing, would we be able to enter it? What about if we had previously swapped the story for hearts or reviews? This isn’t for this contest, but just for future reference. Also, I know we’re not allowed to advertise our entries on Figment, but what about other websites, like Facebook or Twitter or something like that? I read on the forums that we could, but I just wanted to make sure.
    Oh, and it would be awesome if someone could tell me how to view previous posts on this thing that I’m posting on, because I can NOT find how to view any of them apart from the ones that are currently here and mine is not one of them.
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Maya,

      Yes, you may use an entry that you’ve already written, but in order to officially enter a contest, you have to republish that story (thereby erasing all previous hearts). Please let me know if you are still confused by emailing me at

  11. So, you say you can’t swap… But what if you respond to a swap and you don’t know what you want them to read, so you say, Anything You Want of Mine.
    And what if they choose your contest entry?

  12. Hi, Rebecca!

    I’m just wondering.
    My story definitely has strong language, and is (so far) doing fairly well in the hearts department. Say it made it to the Finals.

    Would you specifically NOT choose a peice because of strong language (cuss words, etc.)?

    • Hi Miranda,
      As long as the cussing is appropriate within the context of your story, it should be fine. Good luck and happy writing!

  13. Rebecca I just wanted to point out that many people get around ‘no swap’ rule by only having contest pieces posted up. Then they hound people for swaps, but the only thing that person can read is a contest item. Another trick is writing “DOESN’T COUNT FOR SWAP” on everything but their contest entry. It seems odd to me that figment claims to not support promoting/swapping for contests, but tons of people do it.

    I hope figment has more no-heart contests coming up, because it really isn’t fair to people who actually follow the rules. (Not me, my writing is terrible!)

    • Hi Aaron,

      We try to regulate contest promotion as best we can, but if anyone ever asks you to do a swap where a contest entry is the only available book to be read, feel free to refer the user to me or cite the Figment guidelines. Thanks!

  14. I have a question. My character doesn’t show grit throughout most of the story until right near the end. In fact she’s confused on what to do and confused about the whole situation for most of the story (The girl is only 6) Is it okay that she doesn’t show grit till the last? Or does it need to be throughout the story? Also is it okay to use a very young character? (Only 6)

    • Hi Tasha,

      Yes, it is fine to have a young character who only discovers her grit at the end of the story, as long as she finds it eventually! 🙂 Good luck!

  15. Hi,

    I was wondering, the stories someone post, do they all have to be like suitable for children? Can the stories have violence and gore?


    • Hi XITLALY,

      Stories may include violence and gore as long as they fit within the context of the rest of the story and are not extraneous. Happy writing!

  16. Okay, so, I was just wondering whether the main character, say the character whose viewpoint the story is told from, has to be the girl with grit, or if it can be another character in the story. Like, the main character has her own thing and then the ‘girl with grit’ comes and changes her life or something. That sounds supremely cheesy, but you get the idea.

  17. My character is abused and beaten and she’s scared to trust the person she loves. In the end, she in unable to seek help. Does that mean my story is “not gritty” enough?

  18. If you only have one story – because you haven’t come with any other not because you’re some type of conniving person – and somebody asks to swap. You say sure, and review one of their pieces. They review yours, you don’t ask them too review that specifically, but it’s the only pieces. Does that mean that you’re breaking the rules? I understand that other people may just do it on purpose (only have one piece so that the contest piece is the only one that gets reviewed) but I’ve only recently started writing, and it took me a lot of time to come up with the story I have. & I don’t have time to create something else that I’m equally as proud of.

  19. I have a forward to my story that includes two quotes. One from the ‘Origin of the Seasons’, and one from Stephen King. Am I not allowed to have these in, or if I give credit is it okay?

  20. Okay, I have two questions. Firstly, are we allowed to advertise our entries on our ‘about me’ sections? Like, could we put, “blah blah blah is my entry for the Girls With Grit Contest, so if you’d read and heart it, that would be greatly appreciated,’ or something like that in our own profiles? Because we’re allowed to put *PLEASE READ* on the description of the book, so I just wondered. Secondly, is it necessarily the main character that has to have grit? Or can it be another girl in the story? This is somwhat hypothetical, because in my story, the non-main-character has grit from the beginning and then she meets the slightly-less-gritty-main-character and eventually forces her to have grit of her own. Is that okay, or does it have to be the main character that is gritty the whole way through? She does find her grit at the end…

    • Hi Maya,

      Yes, you may advertise your entries in your “About Me” section. As for the contest, as long as it features (doesn’t have to be the MC per se) a girl with grit, you should be fine. Good luck!

  21. Now it’s only 247 words over. I guss I’m going to have to continuiously peruse through it, and edit out any wordiness.

  22. I feel like the contest is really unfair. The third runner-up, “Tears That Won’t Come Out” by zinnklebottem is doing tons of contest promotions. She’s asking everyone for swaps and that’s where her hearts and reviews are coming from. I definitely believe she should be disqualified from the contest. You should really look into that.

    • I know, I totally agree. I was wondering about that. This is kind of directed at the moderator of this whole thing, too. If we know someone’s been promoting a contest entry, what are we supposed to do?

  23. If a person msgs you and asks for a swap and you only have a contest entry as your story, is that still considered contest promotion?

  24. Oh and also, if I happen to ask my friend who just so happens to be a figment member to read my story and give me feedback, is that considered contest promotion?

  25. Are the top 20 hearted stories the only one viewed to win? Because since I’ve only seen this contest now, my story may very well be notable, but it’ll be lost in the middle of the rest of the entries. The ones that will get read will be the ones at the beginning, because no one really wants to spend 20 minutes going through just to heart stories. I was just wondering if there were wild cards or something like with the Seventeen Magazine contest. Wild cards would be nice. 🙂

    And if there aren’t, are there ANY contests where the top stories aren’t picked by the number of hearts they receive? Because really, it’s not as accurate and fair.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Carina,

      Unfortunately, the majority of our contests are “heart” contests, although we occasionally have enough time to judge contests ourselves (see the Steampunk: Poe contest). We acknowledge that the stories on the first page might have an unfair advantage, and are working on a solution to this problem. Please email me at if you have any more questions.

  26. So uh, this is very sexist. You beezys complained about us Manly Men not having teams for women, and then we created sports teams for your pleasure. Then we even stooped so low as to allow some women to join certain sports teams (HS and down) originally meant only for MEN. But we MEN aren’t allowed in on this little suarei? You all become increasingly despicable as a whole, at a constant rate; it is unbelievable.
    PS: Yes I know it means in the evening.
    Love, Your Dominate and Manly Man, Kyle B.

  27. So, I was wondering what we’re supposed to do if we know someone’s been promoting contest entries. Are we supposed to just tell them it’s not allowed or report them somehow…? It doesn’t appear that the moderator(s) of the contest have been looking into whether the entries have been promoted. Someone mentioned that earlier, but I didn’t see that she got a response…

  28. I know this is an odd comment, but what do you think is too much grit. My girls in my story aren’t very charming and nice but the main character does stand up for what she believes in even if it isn’t in the most pleasant way.

  29. Hi. So, I have a question about swaps. I definitely know we aren’t allowed to say on a swap, ‘please read my Girls With Grit story,’ but we are allowed to do swaps as long as we don’t specify what story we want people to read. But my question is, are we allowed to tell the people not to read a certain few things for the swap. I’m not saying tell them not to read every single one of your stories that isn’t your contest entry. But, for example, I have…oh, probably…twelve writings up, could I ask for them NOT to read like, three of them? Or does it have to be COMPLETELY up to them which one to read?
    Sorry if that doesn’t make any sense…

  30. Hi,

    I have a story that fits perfectly for this contest and I really wish to enter it, but I’ve already published it on the site. Can I re-publish it and enter it, or is this off-limits?


  31. Is profanity (and other potentially offensive terms) permitted for these submissions? It’s not meant to be over the top, but my story’s setting is that of a post Civil-War Southern Plantation and I feel that language is necessary to make the plot at all believable.


    • Hi Emilie,

      A girl with grit is someone who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it, who sticks up for her friends no matter what, etc.

  32. Can the story be about more than one girl? Like mine has alternating chapters about two different girls who eventually meet each other. Both have “grit”. Is that okay? Or will it be disqualified?

  33. I don’t really see how this contest is really fair. I have almost no hearts, and I think it’s because my story is buried on page 13! Is there some way you could cycle the stories through the pages so everyone has a chance to get read?

  34. I posted my story last night, and it said it would take two hours. It’s now 12:OO pm, it’s been way more than 2 hours, I was wondering why my story isn’t up? I tagged it with girlswithgrit. And also, for some reason it won’t let me use a custom cover? Thanks!

  35. So my cover is working when you view it, but from the main contest screen it’s blank. And there are 0 hearts, when I really have 2. Can you help? My story is Choose the Right.

    • Hi Mallory,

      Hmmm, that’s odd. I see your cover on the contest page from my computer. Have you tried using a different internet browser? That might work.

  36. Hey,
    If I were to go onto my profile on Wattpad and ask my friends and fans to check out my entry, would that be against the rules?

  37. I posted mine yesterday, and I still can’t see it with the other entries. Can anyone else see it? It’s called It Gets Better: Olive. Is it there, and I’m being nincompoopish?

    • Hi melissa,

      No, you are not allowed to promote your contest entries on Figment’s facebook page, although you may do so on your OWN Facebook page.

  38. I entered “The Girls With Grit” contest . I have posted it or I think I posted it. It is called “The Road From Where I Came”. Can you let me know if you got it on your end? I enjoyed sharing my story.
    Thanks, Faith

  39. I wasn’t going to enter this contest, but recently a friend kind of accidently gave me a bit of inspiration.

    Started working on it tonight, but I’m hoping to finish writing it by tomorrow. ^_^

  40. I’m pretty new to figment and I don’t stand a chance in this! What do you expect me to do. I can post on facebook as much as I want and I still won’t get enough hearts. And I can’t swap. I just wish some one would read my story. I think I did a good job on this one and I want a chance.

    • Hi Melissa,

      You may ask friends and family to vote for your entry, you may post on your personal social media, and you may read other users’ work (they will often return the favor). Also, the contest entries now appear in a random order on the page, so it does not matter that you just entered the contest. Your entry will be visible!

      • I have but none of them are taking the time. No matter what I’m going to lose. I just wish you people would come up with a better way to judge contest. Because this is totally unfair. The people who win are always either cheating, or they are really popular already.

  41. can you give me the full defintion of what you think a girl with grit is? Can a girl with grit be a girl who fights to be with her love who is not royalty?

  42. Can anyone answer this question? Can a girl with grit be a girl that has always been put down by people, and neglected but then aftr she comes from reha after the harm she has done to herself she tries to stay strong and doesn’t let anyone stay in her way?

  43. Hey, I was wondering, if you had accidentally tagged the wrong story, could you just untag it, then submit the right story and still be entered into the contest? Or would I have to delete the whole other story?

  44. Many questions:
    1. My story is dystopian. Is that okay?
    2. The girl is standing up for what she believes in, but it doesn’t only affect other girls. Is this allowed?
    3. The narrator is her boyfriend. She is dead and he is remembering her. Is this allowed?

  45. Quick question, after you’ve tagged your entry with “girlswithgrit” and published it, how will you know your entry is now included with the other entries on this page? Thanks!

    • Hi Rose,

      If it shows up when you click “Show all entries,” then it has been submitted successfully. Also, you should have received a pop-up confirmation.

  46. Okay, my story is about a girl who is abused by her boyfriend, literally fights her way out of it, then gets cornered by his older brother, who she also fights. Is that a girl with grit? Also, my story isn’t in first person. Is that okay too?

  47. If someone has submitted an entry and it has received votes prior to March 1st (when voting begins right?) do those votes count towards the actual contest and prize?

  48. How can I be sure my story was entered? I’ve looked through the submissions, and I can’t find mine, I tagged it girlswithgrit, but I don’t see it in the submissions.

  49. So…what if one of the other entries has the same amount of likes as yours. How will the selection of the finalists work?

  50. I submitted my story on time. It is almost 2,000 words but the story itself on your website is only showing that it is 544 words. How can I or someone fix that?

      • Oh my gosh. Is my story still valid for the contest? I went back and published my chapters now that I knew. I didn’t know you could just save them as drafts. I’m extremely new to figment and I thought when you clicked the button it automatically published. D: I worked super hard on my story and I’m proud of it but I really want it to be valid. Is it obvious that I’m distressed? D:

      • Er, my comment disappeared. So here it is again. D: So does this mean my entry wasn’t valid? I went back and published the chapters. I’m new to figment, and didn’t know that chapters saved as drafts. I thought they were automatically published and since I checked that all the chapters were up while I was still logged in, I didn’t catch the mistake. Is my entry still valid?

  51. Hey,
    Are we allowed to edit it while the contest is still going on? Also, when will we find out who is in the top 20? Thanks!

    • Hey Melanie-

      Winners will be announced shortly after they’re chosen. Entries shouldn’t be edited until the results are announces, which again, should be shortly! Let me know if I can help you with anything else.


      • Emily,

        Just to be clear, if we are in the top 20, we are not allowed to edit our stories yet? We have to wait until the winning three is announced before we can edit our story? Thank you and sorry for all the questions.


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