The Requiem Writing Contest

Requiem writing contest judged by Lauren Oliver

HarperTeen and Figment are bringing you an amazing
opportunity this winter, along with!

Write a story in which love is dangerous.

Lauren Oliver, author of the bestselling Delirium series—DeliriumPandemonium, and the forthcoming Requiem (out March 2013)—will be reading all the entries and selecting one grand-prize winner.

The winner will receive a two-day trip to New York, where he or she will spend a day at the HarperTeen offices. But that’s not all! The grand-prize winner will also have the opportunity to write a column for for one year—and his or her story will be published on!


You must be between 13 and 21 years of age to be eligible. Open only to residents of the 50 United States. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 3, 2013.  

Please note: Once your story is submitted, it is considered your final, official entry. Any story that is changed after it is submitted may be subject to disqualification. column is unpaid.

How to Enter

1. Read the full rules.
2. Create an account on
3. Start a new writing of 1,500 words or less.
4. Tag your writing with RequiemContest 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 below.

About Lauren Oliver

lauren oliver

Lauren Oliver is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium series, both of which have been optioned for film. She is also the author of two books for younger readers: Liesl and Po, which was recently named a finalist in the 2012 E.B. White Read Aloud Awards, and The Spindlers, which has received many accolades from the publishing world, including 5-star reviews.

Lauren writes every single day; she wrote much of Before I Fall on her phone on the subway, shuttling back and forth between her job as an editor at Razorbill and her MFA program at NYU. In addition to being a writer, Lauren is the co-founder of Paper Lantern Lit, a book development company. She loves to read, run in Prospect Park, buy shoes, and work with fabulous new authors on unstoppable book ideas.

Please note: The comment box below is only for questions about how to enter this contest or other logistical issues. For comments, thoughts, suggestions, complaints about the contest system, please visit our Contest Input forumTo find someone to read your story, try the Contest Promotion forum.

Contest Entries

Show all entries »

230 thoughts on “The Requiem Writing Contest

  1. Hello! This is so exciting! I just have a question–does it have to be romantic love, or can it be paternal love, friendship, etc?

        • The prompt is listed above under “Your challenge” and is listed in the official rules which state: “you must submit one (1) original story of up to 1,500 words, in any genre, in which love is dangerous.” Please refer to the official rules for all entry requirements!

  2. Can we write it and put it on figment, get some critiques and reviews, then tag it for the contest when we think its ready? Like with the Defy the Dark contest that was held a few months ago?

    • The official rules state: “On the “Details” page, put RequiemContest in “Tags”.” Please refer to the official rules for all entry requirements.

    • The official rules state: “you must submit one (1) original story of up to 1,500 words, in any genre, in which love is dangerous.” Please refer to the official rules for all entry requirements.

  3. The paid for expenses, would that count for an adult too if you’re just 13 or a bit older, or is it just the one person and the adult has to pay for themselves?

    • All entries are regarded as the sole property of the account that posted it and only one individual will be declared the winner.

    • The story cannot have been posted on Figment before the announcement of the contest. Only stories created after the announcement of the contest are eligible to win.

  4. I was just wondering if it is okay to resolve the danger by the end of the story? Or should the danger remain throughout the entire thing?

      • I actually have the same question. Sorry for the bother but where can I find the official rules? Its not in the details if I’m not missing anything.

      • I did read the rules, but I’m still confused as to what the column would be about? I understand the commitment, but is it like, you write a column of a story or about celebrities like most of what I can seen on is all about?

        • “Grand Prize winner will have his or her story published on and will have the opportunity for a one (1) year unpaid columnist position for whereas the Grand Prize winner will write at least twelve (12) columns pertaining to topics as decided by Grand Prize winner and editors.”

          The topics will be decided between the winner and editors.

      • The story was created on figment after the contest was announced.

        But I put the story in another contest can I still enter it into this contest

        • Hello Mandi,

          Most contests require an original story (meaning it cannot be entered into two contests at once, since each require a new story). Please refer to the rules of each contest to be sure.

    • Covers must adhere to the Figment Terms of Service, which state that all content you post on Figment must be your creative property, copyright-free, or used with the express permission of the copyright holder.

    • Please refer to the official rules for entry requirements. As long as you are a resident of the United States, you should be set.

    • All content posted on Figment must confirm to the terms of service, which states that all content must be your own, be copyright free, or be used with explicit permission of the copyright holder. This includes all images.

  5. Would it be possible if you posted it up after the announcement and then wanted to change a few things and so you did change whatever it is that you wanted to change but you created it as another story and deleted the one you had before? Sorry if that sounds confusing.

    • I also had another quick question, but would it be okay if you put your entry on after the announcement but didn’t tag it until you finished putting in the final touches, would that be alright? Like say, you decide to change the tenses and you do so before tagging it. Is that alright?

    • There’s only one entry per person, so you may be disqualified if you upload a second entry. If it is published and tagged, it is entered.

  6. Sorry if this has been ask but is supposed to be a short story of under 1500 words or can it be like a start to a book? And just stop at around 1500 words or less? hope that makes sense

    • The story must be created after the announcement of the contest and must be an original story. Please refer to the official rules for all entry requirements.

    • Unfortunately, only residents of the United States of America may enter. Please refer to the official rules for all eligibility requirements.

  7. hey, I know this says open to the residents of the 50 united states, but can people who live in Puerto Rico enter?

  8. Sorry, I have another question. I really do want to enter although I’ve been having some second thoughts about it. I’ve been surfing the web and I remembered the DFD contest and I realized that alot of other “non-figment” (and figment, as well, I guess) contests state that published authors cannot enter. If I do win this contest and as a result, have it published on that website, will I be considered a published author and uneligible for those other contests?

    Sorry for all the questions. I tend to overthink things sometimes.

    • It depends on the other contests’ definitions of what a published author is. You would have to refer to the legal rules for the contest.

  9. I write poetry, can the entry be in a poetry format but still tell the story? Or does it have to be in a normal story format?

  10. Does the story have to be about love being dangerous to everyone or just to one specific person? Or is either expectable?

  11. Hi I read the rules, but I am still unsure. IF I am unable to take a trip to NY by the allotted day (school), what happens? I do live in the US, by the way.

  12. Hello Emily hope you are having a good day just a little message from me to everyone who keeps asking you the same question.

    Read the comments below before you ask a question. I have the same question at least four times on here.

    Also Please read the rules for the contest above, Also click on the links under the “How to enter” section above, and last but not least please read the comments below before you ask a question.

    I am not trying to sound mean but i am sure this girl has more important things to do then answer a question that has been asked four times or more.

    I wish everyone luck in the contest as well 🙂

  13. What kind of “dangerous” does the prompt pertain to? Does it have to be the obvious, cliche kind of danger? Or can it be a subtle, pernicious kind of effect, like dangers of society or dangers of judgement?

  14. Can we write about loving yourself, or loving something that you do (etc. anorexia, losing weight, eating…)? It is still technically dangerous love.

  15. Defy the Dark all over again! Oh my.
    But I do have one specific question. What if we were to write a story now, but not tag it. Have people critique, and then tag it. Like the Defy the Dark. Is that a possibility or is that not allowed. I did try to see if there was anything about it in the full rules, but nothing is quite that specific. Thank you! C:

  16. So what if it’s a forbidden romance but because of that, it makes the love dangerous. Does that still answer the prompt, or not?

    • It depends on the song, but very likely yes–most songs are copyrighted. Please make sure that whatever song lyrics you wish to include are not copyrighted or make sure that you are following copyright law when you include them.

  17. Sorry Emily for the question: I live in Germany and I´m 23 now. Do I have a chance to participate? Actually, just to participate, not to win prizes.

  18. This seems pretty interesting. Wow, scrolling through the comments I came to the realization that not many figmenters read. Same questions over and over again people! lol.

  19. Are we allowed to curse if we block out the letters? You know – just imply cursing. Because words like meanie or jerk can’t really describe what my character thinks of some of the other characters.

  20. So when we enter our story, are we allowed to turn the story that we submitted into a full blown story during or after 3/3/13?

    • Make sure you’re adhering to copyright law with whatever you include in your story. That may vary from quote to quote. And, please refer to the official rules for what may and may not be included in your story.


    • As long as your story is published (not a draft), tagged properly, and was created after the announcement of the contest, you’re set.

  22. If I am taking a part from the novel I’m currently working on getting published, but it’s just a side story and something I have not added yet but is also still considered to be a completed short story, will I still be allowed to put that in my novel at a later time or will the title and its contents become property of someone else? This is a very important question. Thanks!

  23. I see we can’t edit our stories, but would we be allowed to delete it and repost it? I wasn’t sure if the point of that rule was so that things don’t get changed after the story has been read, or for some other reason. Thanks!

  24. Hi!

    I was wondering if I have to write a story about love being dangerous or why love is dangerous. The official rules did specify on what I can write. I was just wondering. I came up with a really good idea and, it would be a shame if I couldn’t use it! 🙁

    • Hey Yasmin!

      Please refer to the official rules for all entry requirements. As long as you feel you’ve followed the rules to the best of your ability, you should enter!

  25. I come from the USA but at the moment I’m living in Germany (I’m on a year-long sabatical with my family). Am I still eligible to enter this contest?

  26. My comment didn’t show up last time, so I’m submitting it again. Sorry for double posting if it actually did and I couldn’t see it!
    Anyway, I was wondering how “appropriate” the entries had to be. I read the rules, and it said that anything deemed inappropriate by the Sponsor might be disqualified, and that doesn’t really help. So, can the story have mentions of sex, alcohol, drugs, swearing, etc.? Like PG-13-ish? Or is “G” the only thing considered “appropriate”?


  27. I was wondering if you could publish the story without putting the Tag on the writeing and then once some people read it and you correct it a little bit then put the tag on it and turn it in
    Is that ok?

  28. Hi there, I was just wondering how strict the word limit is. My story is 1,561 words. Do I need to try to edit it down, or is 61 extra words okay? The reason I’m asking is because I have already edited it down a lot and I really don’t want to cut out any more. Thank you.

    • The rules require an original story. Tagging a story on Figment that was published before the announcement of the contest will not result in a valid entry.

    • Hey Brooke-

      Check that:
      -Your story is published
      -It is tagged properly
      -It was created after the announcement of the contest

      If all three of those are true, it is somewhere in the entries whether you got the pop-up or not!

  29. Hey Emily,

    On my computer (Microsoft Word) the word count for my story comes up as being 1520 words. But on Figment, it shows up as exactly 1500 words. Do I follow the Figment word count regardless?

  30. I published my entry called My Curse but it doesn’t come up as a contest entry and I published it a couple days ago. I don’t know what is wrong or how to fix it! Please help me!

    • Check that:
      -Your story is published
      -It is tagged properly
      -It was created after the announcement of the contest

      If all three of those are true, it is somewhere in the entries whether you see it there or not. There’s a bunch to dig through and the order is constantly shifting, so you may not be able to spot it.

  31. I know this is a weird question, but what if your guardians are afraid to fly in a plane. Would it be okay if your older sister accompany you?

    • Hey Reghan-

      There is only one entry per person per the entry period, so you may disqualified if you delete and re-upload your entry. Your best option is to leave your entry as it stays, as editing may also cause you to be disqualified.

  32. In the “Daily Fig” it talks about the contests, and the preview for the Requiem Contest. It quotes “In 500 words or fewer, write a story in which love is dangerous. Lauren Oliver is reading all the entries and one grand-prize winner will get to visit New York City!” But when you click on the official rules, it states “To enter the Promotion you must submit one (1) original story of up to 1,500 words, in any genre, in which love is dangerous” I was a little confused, so I was wondering if I could have a clarification? Thank you! 🙂

  33. So I read the official rules and it says inappropriate content isn’t allowed, but in never defines “inappropriate content.” Can I use H***? As in the place I’m not using it just to swear…

  34. Could it be a romantic/sexual hatred or a BDSM relationship, as long as I make sure to keep it appropriate? Can it use characters or concepts from previous things we’ve written or take place in the same universe as something else we’ve written? How about characters we’ve even planning for another story but haven’t actually written yet?

    • As long as you follow the official rules and the Figment terms of service and guidelines, you’re set. Please refer to both of those and use your best judgement.

  35. I found a formatting error in my story after publishing it, so I deleted and republished it. Will it be disqualified? It only shows up once in the story submissions…

  36. I have just a couple of questions;

    1. Do we post our stories on this comment place? The only reason I’m asking is because in previous contests I’ve entered, entry wasn’t final where your story couldn’t be changed. So, I just thought I’d ask.

    2. Like, dangerous love… could it be someone so in love that they’d kill themselves for the other person?

    Thanks for your time and I hope this is where you post questions… I’m kind of new to Figments new set up with this thing.

    • Hey!

      1. I’m not sure what you mean. Stories are posted as writings on Figment to your Figment account. You may save it as a draft until you are ready to enter, or wait to tag it until it is finalized. Once it is published and tagged, it may not be changed.

      2. Please refer to the official rules for all entry requirements and use your best judgement!

  37. If I notice a grammatical error/typo, am I allowed to edit/add one word? I read the rules, but I am still unsure as to whether this would qualify for disqualification.

  38. Hello, I didnt see anyone else asking this question. But is it strict on the age? It says 13-21…I’m 23…I would love to enter!

  39. Okay, so, I’m just starting on my entry right now and I’m quite exited! I am curious though, as you narrow it down after March 3rd will you be posting somewhere saying how many people are yet to be eliminated? Or will there be a top 30 at least? If there isn’t, oh well, but if you do I will greatly appreciate it. I always like to see how I rate compared to others – it helps me to understand where I stand among the competition. Thank you!

  40. Hey so in the rules, it says you may not use any work that is already published, so does that mean that any work published on Figment may not be used?
    And I am allowed to use one story for two contests right?

    • Hey!

      Most Figment contests require an original story, which would mean anything already on Figment would not be allowed. It would also mean one story cannot be in multiple contests. Please read the official rules for each contest you intend to enter.

  41. I tagged requiem contest on my story and I didn’t get confirmation and it didn’t show up in the entries..and that was a couple days ago. Does the tag have to be exact for it to show up?

    • The tag does have to be exact. As long as your entry is tagged properly, is published, and was created after the announcement of the contest, you’re set!

  42. Okay, wow… with all these books i’m sure i don’t stand a chance… even if i finish editing it, it won’t be good enough

    • Don’t worry, Esmeralda!

      I have an entry in the contest as well, but it would be a shame to see someone not enter the contest just because they don’t think their story is good enough. Who knows? Your story may be better than the rest! Forget about the other entries and just WRITE. Take a chance. You can’t win if you don’t participate. I hope you change your mind and I wish you all the best in the contest!

  43. I’m very worried. I already submitted it, and once I did, I noticed that there was a “v” before my first word “I” so I edited it to delete the “v”. I’m worried that because I edited it after submission, I’ll be disqualified. But, I didn’t change the story at all! Please tell me as soon as possible if I can still be in the contest!!!

  44. Hi! I am really interested in entering but I just have a few questions first. My family is currently posted in Canada but I am a US citizen, is it still possible for me to enter?

  45. Hi – I asked this before, but my question was “awaiting moderation” for quite a while, and now it seems to have vanished. Dunno what happened!

    Does it count as “original” if your story is based on a myth, or a Bible story?


  46. Hello. I know youu are probably getting tired of hearing this question over and over again, but do you know when the winner will be announced yet? Again, I am sorry.

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