Semi-Charmed Life Short Story Contest

We’ve all felt like outsiders at one time or another. Whether you’re a prepster in a sea of punk rockers or a nerdfighter at a Worldsuck convention, it can be really lonely to feel like you can’t connect with those around you. It’s even worse when you feel like that with your own family.

Beatrice Bernstein, the main character of Nora Zelevansky’s debut novel, Semi-Charmed Life, has never felt like she fit in with her parents and sister. Her mother is a museum curator, her father is an artist, and her older sister—a Proust scholar—runs a well-regarded literary magazine. Beatrice would rather be watching trashy TV (Jersey Shore, anyone?) and eating junk food (both forbidden in the Bernstein household). She might love her family, but she definitely doesn’t relate to them.

Inspired by Beatrice’s own outsider status, we’ve got an exciting writing challenge for you! In 1,200 words or less, write a story where the main character is radically different from the people around him or her.

How to Enter:

1. Read the full rules.
2. Create an account on
3. Start a new writing of 1,200 words or fewer.
4. Tag your writing with SemiCharmedContest on the Details tab.
5. Press “Publish Now.”
6. You should receive a pop-up confirmation of your entry, and in about two hours or so, your piece should appear among the submissions.

You have until Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 11:59p.m. ET to enter your story. Voting will run until Monday, July 23, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Nora Zelevansky, the author of Semi-Charmed Life, will choose a winner from the top-voted finalists.

First prize winner will receive a copy of Semi-Charmed Life, an advanced reader copy of Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones (not out until October!), and a copy of The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver.

Second prize winner will receive a copy of Semi-Charmed Life and The Demon Trapper’s Daughter.

Third prize winner will receive a copy of Semi-Charmed Life.

Contest Entries

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44 thoughts on “Semi-Charmed Life Short Story Contest

  1. I just hope that not everyone writes about different sexuuality. As usual. I don’t hate the subject it’s just I’ve read it over and over. Come up with some thing new!

  2. I think it’s unfair that you have to be American to enter an online contest that could well be perfect for someone else on the site

  3. Whenever I saw this prompt, I immediately thought “ELPHABA!” What can I say… I’m an obsessed Wicked fan. 🙂 But seriously, it goes perfectly with the prompt. To bad there’s already a book out about her… Haha 😉

    • Hey Maddie-

      If they are fan fictions of works that are in the common domain (out of copyright) then yes. Otherwise, no.

  4. Hey
    Is Figment ever going to do a decent international contest again?
    There used to be loads that were world wide unless local laws prohibited it but now… not so much. Is there a reason you’re not doing real international contests anymore? Can you recommend a sister site or anything that you know runs contests where UK citizens, or anyone else, can enter?

    • Hey Kate-

      We are legally only able to open contests with tangible prizes to residents of the US and parts of Canada, but we hope to be able to expand our contests in the future. There is currently an international contest being held in the Short Story forum where you can win your story in the Figment newsletter, so check it out!

  5. I think it is a shame that the voting is done by hearts. I understand the difficulty of doing it other ways but it seems to me now it is just a contest to see who can self promote the most. There are hundreds of heart swaps and such, you dont have to have a good peice to get 100 hearts, just a lot of time to swap.

    Still happy i did this though because i like my story 🙂

  6. I published my book almost 6 hours ago, and I still haven’t gotten a confirmation. I put ‘SemiCharmedContest’ in the description and tags, so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong..

    • As long as:
      -The story is published and not saved as a draft
      -The story is tagged correctly
      -The story was created on Figment after the announcement of the contest

      You’re all set! 😀

  7. I never got a pop-up confirmation…I’m not sure why, because I tagged it with semicharmedcontest and when I have entered contests in the past, I have recieved the confirmation…just a little worried!! 🙂

    • As long as:
      -The story is published and not saved as a draft
      -The story is tagged correctly
      -The story was created on Figment after the announcement of the contest

      You’re all set! Best of luck!

    • As long as:
      -The story is published and not saved as a draft
      -The story is tagged correctly
      -The story was created on Figment after the announcement of the contest

      You’re all set! Good luck!

  8. wait a second… My computer blocked a “pop-up” for the full rules of this contest. I spent AGES writing my entry and getting hearts for it. Now, I read the full rules and it tells me it’s only for people who live in the US???????????? How is that fair? I mean, there are plenty of amazing british writers on Figment and plenty from other countries so why can’t they enter?????

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