Winners of the Defy the Dark Short-Story Contest!

This is it! You wrote more than 1,200 stories and editor Saundra Mitchell read every single one. Today, she is thrilled to announce the winner of the Defy the Dark short-story contest! Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who participated!

Dear Figs,

It has been an extraordinary month. You submitted more than 3.4 million words to this contest. I’ve spent every single day reading your work—falling in love, gasping for breath, and more than once, sobbing my eyes out.

You guys are a seriously talented bunch of writers. Thank you so much for trusting me with your stories. It’s been my honor and privilege to consider them. And now, I’m absolutely thrilled to announce the final three authors for DEFY THE DARK.

Because I can publish only one story in the print version of the anthology, I’m going to publish two additional stories on the official website, DEFYTHEDARK.COM. You’ll be able to read them on the site starting in late spring 2013.

The first story to appear on the website will be BOGWATER by Grrrillaful.The southern gothic voice in this story is pitch perfect. Every line swelters, drawing us deeper into this world. It’s seductively dark, deceptively smart and has a real bite at the end.

AFTER ILLUME by Emily Skrutskie will also be on the website. With deft strokes, this story created a place that none of us have ever been—the depths of space. Once there, it challenges us to face our inevitable end, and it does it with grace, humor and a gentle sense of hope.

Finally, appearing in the pages of DEFY THE DARK, published by HarperTeen in hardcover, paperback and e-book in June 2013, will be:

by Kate Espey

This story, both wry and wounded, perfectly captures that terrible moment that you can’t get back. From the very first line, the voice is rich and authentic, the emotions raw, but the story tightly told.

Congratulations to all three of you. Your voices stood out, and I can’t wait to share them with readers everywhere.

Your journey as published authors is just beginning and I can’t wait to work with you.



27 thoughts on “Winners of the Defy the Dark Short-Story Contest!

  1. Not gonna lie, but I was kinda disappointed that I didn’t win. *sheepish grin* But still… at least the winners deserve it this time!

    CONGRATULATIONS, GUYS! :^]____] I find it kinda ironic that I was first to comment on “The Sunflower Murders”, and I even predicted that it would win. X^D Same with “Bogwater”, but I was second to comment on that one. They were both fantastic and definitely deserved to win. I haven’t read “After Illume” yet, but I will, and I’m sure it’s brilliant work. Again, congrats, guys!

    And thanks again, Miss Mitchell, for this wonderful contest! I’m thinking about sending my contest entry somewhere, and I wouldn’t have written it in the first place or put so much faith into it if you hadn’t run this contest. :^3 Also, I think it’s awesome that, even if I didn’t win, my story met the eyes of a published author! It was incredibly awesome of you to put as much work into this contest as its participants did. :^)

    And I’ll totally buy the book when it comes out. ^_^ Can’t wait!

    • Agreed! I’m sad I didn’t win, but it’s not as if I’m resentful of those who did because they won on their own merit rather than howevermany followers. And this contest did make me write something I’m very proud of, even if it wasn’t chosen. I’m grateful that people would give us the opportunity at least.

    • I was sad also but I had loads of fun creating a dark story for the contest! I hope there will be another similar contest like this one!

      • I also agree. Even if my story didn’t win it was still read by an author! Many thanks to Miss Mitchell for reading all of those stories!

  2. Let’s be serious, all but three people frantically scrolled down to the winners, cried, and through their computers at the ground. But, you know, congratulations! You really did deserve it. 😀

    • Yup.
      That was me, lol.

      My heart sank when I saw the page.
      Then I cried.
      Then I felt bad, b/c these people deserve to win.

      Then I played a volleyball game… And hit the ball so hard out of anger that I wasn’t that good of a writer! We won the game! The pros and cons of losing a figment contest, lol.


    • Haha! Exactly what I was thinking.
      But congrats to the winners, they’re very blessed.
      Can’t wait to buy this book when it comes out. (:

  3. My heartfelt congratulations to the authors who were successful enough to get published.

    Also, my thanks to Figmentfiction, HarperTeen and Saundra Mitchel for running this contest and creating the opportunity to be published, and Saundra especially for the hard work of reviewing so many entries!

    So, my next step? I’ll review the best entries and see what I can learn from them.

    And, I’ll try, try again!

    I think this qualifies as my first rejection!

    Yahoo! I’m on the road to becoming a real writer!



    • “I think this qualifies as my first rejection! Yahoo! I’m on the road to becoming a real writer!”

      I never even thought about it like that before. Love it! :^D

  4. Congratulations to the winners! I’ll be sure to check out your work. Thank you again, Saundra, for reading my piece as well as everyone else’s. Thank you Figment, for putting out this awesome contest where all of the entrants’ voices had a chance to be heard. I promise I will keep writing. 🙂

  5. Ouch…Kinda wishin’ I hadn’t gotten my hopes up there. Oh well, there is always next time…Congrats to the winners though. I’m gonna go cry now. Ha!

  6. Okay, so viewing the website, it looks like a ton of work went into putting up the new author pages with their bios and acknowledgements and photos and updating the text to say the winners on the front page. And all that new stuff appeared in less than 24 hours’ time. So I have this crazy thinking: maybe the winners found out a week or so ago that they won, and they had to take an oath of silence and swear to, for that week or so, not return to Figment or contact their friends or leave their houses until the winners announcement, or they could risk letting the info slip out. Am I right? X^D

    Or maybe the people who work on the website are uber efficient. :^P

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