Magisterium Short-Story Contest

Glenn Morgan doesn’t believe in magic. Her reality is complicated enough. Her mother disappeared when she was six, and her scientist father spends all of his time working on a mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams of one day living and doing research on a distant planet.

But when her father is arrested, Glenn and her friend Kevin Kapoor are forced to flee across the Rift and into an unknown land. On the other side they discover an amazing world they never expected—the Magisterium—and Glenn is forced to reexamine her beliefs. Maybe magic really does exist?

In the Magisterium, magic is referred to as Affinity. Someone with an Affinity has a close spiritual relationship to something in the environment. It can be anything: fire, water, the moon, an animal, etc. Whatever a person’s Affinity is, they are able to commune with it and control it.

Inspired by the magical world of Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, we’ve got a new short-story contest for you! Your challenge: In 1,200 words or fewer, write a story about the day a character discovers their Affinity. (Be sure to consider the world where this story happens. Does everyone have an Affinity? Or maybe just a lucky few? Did your character believe in Affinity beforehand? Did they get the Affinity they wanted?)

The grand-prize winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card and signed copies of Magisterium and The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch.

The second-prize winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Magisterium.

The third-prize winner will receive a signed copy of Magisterium.

How to Enter:
1. Read the full rules.
2. Create an account on
3. Start a new writing of 1,200 words or less.
4. Tag your writing with AffinityContest 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, October 16 at 11:59 p.m. ET to enter your story. Voting will run until Wednesday, October 24 at 5:00 p.m. ET. The top ten most-hearted finalists will be sent to Jeff Hirsch for judging!

Contest Entries

  • Magus
    • 3
    • 1


    {CONTEST} 17-year old Tobias Moros is the descendant of a great fire Magus who fought against the dystopian government that wanted to …

    View Entry »
  • Fire_06
    • 1
    • 0

    Day of Fire

    in Aden's world if you're special, when you turn fifteen you will have the great gift that you have had since you were born become mor…

    View Entry »
  • Voices cover 2 cropped words
    • 5
    • 1


    "I thought I was crazy. But then again, what else are you supposed to think when you start hearing voices talking to you in your head?…

    View Entry »
  • N1idzqp
    • 7
    • 1


    Formerly known as Russia's Fire~ Ilyana, an orphan at the Turetski Home for Orphan Girls, discovers one bitter night that her hands h…

    View Entry »
  • Withercover
    • 51
    • 9


    ***FIRST PLACE IN THE AFFINITY CONTEST!*** Hollyn Witherleigh doesn't have her Affinity. EVERYONE she was ever close to got theirs. Sh…

    View Entry »
  • Th-2
    • 8
    • 2

    Spinning of the Stars

    Well, I was so nervous about my having my Affinity that I hadn't been paying attention in Science class & that's when I met him. …

    View Entry »
  • Wings
    • 37
    • 10

    Of Gay and Fae

    Teddy is a gay fairie, and that's why he believes he hasn't gotten his affinity yet. His best friend, Nigel, is also gay. Teddy disc…

    View Entry »
  • The outlaw
    • 0
    • 1

    The Outlaw

    In a land were Affinities are seen as treason, one girl has to deal with the fact that she's been cursed with magic. Written for the A…

    View Entry »
  • Cover-normal
    • 3
    • 0

    Technology Blues

    I'm a technology geek, the best of my generation, and some might think this would be expected of me. But this? This is just plain weir…

    View Entry »
  • The gift to save title
    • 117
    • 20

    The Gift to Save

    For the affinity Contest (10/13/12 Because of all the comments, I have decided to fix the story so I hope it is better now)The wonderf…

    View Entry »
  • 316px-candleburning
    • 0
    • 0

    The Fire Dances

    Here's my entry for the Magisterium short story conteset. I hope everyone enjoys :) This is about a girl who grows up in a country whe…

    View Entry »
  • Phenix
    • 1
    • 0

    Fire Hound

    Affinity is passed through generations of Guardians. Many only have one Guardian parent, which is what makes me so special. Both my pa…

    View Entry »
Show all entries »

37 thoughts on “Magisterium Short-Story Contest

  1. Really? Another heart based contest? Either we are being completely ignored or you don’t care what we think.

    Thank you Figment, for taking Inkpop away from me and then never listening to my advice to make Figment better. Yep, thanks a lot.

    • Hey!

      We understand that many people don’t like heart-based contests, so we continue to offer near-weekly flash fiction and newsletter contests that are judged by members of Figment staff and do not depend on hearts. That said, many people do like heart-based contests or like entering longer word-limited contests. While it is highly unlikely that we will stop holding heart-based contests, we continually attempt to offer a variety of lengths and judging methods so users can choose which contests suit them best.


      • But Figment,

        You do realize there are other people who want to write longer pieces of work but are unable to do so because all short-story contests (with the exception of Defy the Dark) are heart-based. Contrary to what you think, people don’t like heart-based contests. But because of the prizes many do them anyway. But seriously, who wants to go around asking for hearts? It’s like going around asking for money. It’s a matter of pride. Some people have more than others.

        Anyways, feel free to regard this.

      • Tbh Emileh, I don’t really think anyone likes entering heart contests. It’s just that sometimes, the prizes make the soul-tearing agony seem worth it.

        But I’ve noticed an uptake on the non-heart contests, so /shrug. Just keep doing what you’re doing and there will probably be some sort of balance eventually.

      • Oh course I understand that you would get rid of them, but I and several other people would like it if you could give us some more none heart contests. And maybe give us some better prizes for those ones please? Personally, all of the contests that I would like to enter because of the prompt and prizes are more often than not heart story’s. So I just ask that you try and equal out the heart based contests and judge based and make the prizes for both kinds nice.

        And I do apologize for my first comment. It was a bit harsh. But I was just upset because I’ve sent three emails to Figment and have not received a reply to any of them. Not even a confirmation that they had been read.

      • I really do get it. If it isn’t a heart-based contest, there would be TOO many entries to read. But just once a month would you make a contest without the heart-based? Or maybe more than ten top-hearted. It just seems unfair between those who have all the time and those who can only write in their freetime. I get it…but I don’t like it. Thank you for listening. 🙂

        • I think the main problem with heart-based contests is that you have to submit good work like almost IMMEDIATELY in order to even have a chance at earning hearts. Also promoting the pieces takes a lot of work and for someone like me who doesn’t feel comfortable bothering other people with reading my stuff, how on earth am I supposed to get hearts?

          I suggest somehow the heart-based contests be tweaked. Maybe set up a format that for heart-based contest, you can’t vote or maybe even read the entries until after the deadline and during a (longer?) voting period…

        • Newsletter contests are posted in a newsletter and are usually micro-fiction with a week-long entry period. Check the week’s newsletter for more information!

      • Emily,

        What about those of us who are good writers, but who don’t want to go around and ask for hearts like a homeless person asking for food? You all know as well as we do that that’s what people end up having to do to get them. The people who have pride – me included – don’t want to have to lower themselves to that. It’s like… Facebook. You make a Facebook page and then you can move down two different paths to get more likes: you can be lazy and go around to ask for shares, or you can – with your own work – make your page successful. The second is much harder than the first, but it’s far more rewarding.

        However, with the system you’ve got set up here, the second option is nonexistent. You either have to ask people to come and heart your story, or you have to have many followers – which generally comes from previously asking people to read your older stories. Also, people tend to read the more-hearted stories because they think, “Oh, if it’s got so many hearts, it must be good!” When in reality, the hearted ones are no better than many, many others, and they’ve only so many hearts because the author didn’t have the pride in his or her own work to get enough hearts to win without asking for them. In a recent contest, you’re more likely to find a beautifully written diamond in the rough with only a few hearts than to find a well-endowed story of the same calibre. Therefore, in a nutshell, this “stories with the most hearts get to move on” thing is flawed. Famous authors don’t ask other people to read their books, people just do read them once they’ve been officially published.

  2. I’ve got a question: What if you like all the benefits of heart-based contest except the heart part itself? I’m not a fan of writing flash-fiction; I prefer writing longer stories, but from what you’re implying, only the flash-fictions are the ones not heart-based.

  3. Hey Emily! (And other Figment staff)
    Thank you for continually responding so politely to people who complain about heart-based contests. Speaking from experience, being competitive in a heart-based contest is exhausting and extremely difficult, and I understand why people dislike them so strongly. At the same time, I understand why they’re logistically the most viable option for the site, as far as mid/long-length stories go. I do hope dialogue on this stays open, though, and maybe at some point a better but still feasible system can be worked out.
    Also, some among us had indeed noticed the increased frequency of newsletter and FlashFic contests. I definitely appreciate the effort at variety on the staff’s part. Besides being a bit “fairer” in the judging, they’re unique little challenges and quite a lot of fun, so thank you for that. 🙂
    In short, you staffers to an all-around wonderful job making this site fun and interesting, and I just wanted to make sure you feel loved. Keep doin’ what you do!


    • I understand that the amount of enteries can be too much for editors to read on a weekly basis and the benefit of some freindly competition among future authors but some of us just don’t have the time to commit to swaps for 5+ hours everyday. I don’t even have my own computer. I have to rely on the local library’s flawed system. I work hard on my entries but the only option I have of even just getting my work read would be to interrupt my parabati’s life and ask for her help with swaps.

  4. These heart based contests are really getting old. 9/10 times I haven’t entered a contest that looks really fun just because it’s heart based.

    Some people don’t have the time it takes to get into the top 10. If the judges took the time to read some of the stories that AREN’T in the top 10, I’m 100% sure you would find plenty of others that are so much more worthy of winning a contest.
    Back in July I entered a heart based contest which left me sitting at my computer for a MASSIVE portion of my day. I’m still catching up on swaps for that, and I didn’t even get into the top 20.

    I’ve read a lot of contest entries in the past and honestly? 90% of them really suck. I don’t see how asking for hearts is a fair way to win a contest.

    I’ve been a Figment user since June and I’ve encountered ONE non heart based contest. I’m not seeing any raise in numbers for those…

    So yeah, you have Flash Fiction contests. Not everyone likes those. And have you looked at the prizes for heart based contests compared to non heart based contests? The contests that aren’t fair are the ones with the best prizes. Yet another reason you should change something. Once again, the people who have time (not necessarily skills) get rewarded.

    I completely understand that it’s easier on the judges to have heart based contests, but seriously, what happened to the days when how well you write actually mattered in a writing contest? Unless of course it’s not actually talent you’re looking for.

  5. I’m really getting tired of these heart based contests. I haven’t entered a contest in months because there are so many heart based contests that I refuse to participate in. Yeah, the prizes are great but I’m not about to sit in front of my computer for hours asking for hearts. I refuse to do it. Yeah, I know they’re are non heart based entries but they’re flash fiction. I hate flash fiction. I miss Inkpop and I really wish you people at Figment would start to listen to us.

  6. Will you guys stop complaining about the heart contests? They may be harder to get into the finals with, but would you want to read one hundred stories?
    I understand the pain of the heart contests. I spent day after day advertising one of my short stories for the Speechless contest, and I’m pretty sure I got 11th (though since the results haven’t been posted I don’t know for sure). Heart contests are very hard, but I also think that the Figment staff is doing a wonderful job. A true writer doesn’t write for the money or the prizes, a true writer writes because they love it.
    Don’t be the person that complain. The Figment staff doesn’t like the complaints and many of the other writers don’t like the complaints either. When I scroll through the comments after a contest prompt, almost all them say “Another heart contest? I hate heart contest! There is no point to entering something you can’t even win.” Frankly, I have been having that problem too. I’ve almost quit a lot of things because I wasn’t winning, but recently I learned that winning isn’t the only part of something. It’s the journey you take, winning is just the cherry on top, it’s just an extra. It’s exciting, but you have to be able to except it and learn from your mistakes.
    Heart contests are hard and they might seem like you can’t win them, but obviously people are, so step up and try. You never know what might happen.

    • I agree with you that it is not feasible for Figment editors to read 100+ entries for contests. That is just insane for people to think Figment should do.
      But there are some points you had that I don’t agree with. No, the writing contests are not just about the prizes and winnings, as you said, but they are about the experience. That much is true. But, winning has to be a goal when entering the contest, otherwise, why enter in the first place instead of just posting the new work? But, many people have absolutely no chance of winning because they don’t heart swap or things of that nature.
      Yes, heart based contests are hard work, but that’s usually only true for a good bit of people who don’t make it into the top hearted because they are the ones who are honest. Many of the people who make it into the top hearted went around asking for hearts rather having people read their story and heart it only if they like it.
      Most of the past few contests, the top hearted have commented on my page multiple times asking for a heart. I don’t heart their entries nor do I read them if they are willing to swap.
      Another thing is, because of the serial heart swaps, many of the stories in the top hearted suck compared to those who didn’t make it. In the past few contests, mostly the Hacktavist contest, I read most of the stories and found a few that were absolutely amazing and had virtually no flaws structurally but they had very little hearts. Then I would read the higher hearted ones and find them rife with errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, ect and that are written pretty badly.
      So, I don’t complain just from a perspective of someone writing for the contests, but also from the perspective of someone reading the entries for the contests.
      Also, yes Figment does offer non heart based contests, but they are all flash fiction. Yes, flash fiction is easier to judge, but there needs to be short story contests that are not dependent on hearts.
      Many people would not be willing to read 100+ entries, but there are solutions to this other than heart based contests because heart based contests are an unfair judgment on the writer’s talents. One solution is to maybe have a certain set of people whose job it is to read these entries. It isn’t that hard. One person was able to read every single entry for the Defy the Dark contest. Why can’t a group of people read every entry for specific contests?
      I am not saying to completely eliminate heart based contests, I am saying to make contests without the need for hearts.
      ~Kyla Marie Rich : )

    • Hey!

      As long as your entry is:
      -Published on Figment (not saved as a draft)
      -Created after the announcement of the contest
      -Tagged properly

      You’re all set!

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