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  • created 01/30/15

Figgy Idol

Like American Idol, only our contestants write. We are a multi-round, short story writing competition held annually-ish here on Figment. Anyone with any kind of experience is free to sign-up.

Discussion began on 07/06/2017

And the WINNER of season four is...

  • Untitled Icon-founder Ellie Williams

    This is the moment you have all been waiting for--the announcement of our next Figgy Idol! We had thirty-seven writers audition, and we’re down to our final four. It’s been a long journey, and you all have given us everything. It hasn’t been easy--for any of us. But, man, what an adventure it has been. I want to thank you all for sticking it out until the very end, making this a worthy competition and an exciting one to judge. I’ve loved reading your work each round and seeing you all grow. All four of you are truly talented writers and should have confidence in your writing abilities. And if that’s all you’ve gained from this competition, I’m happy. 

    My goal behind this project is to help my fellow writer. Even if it’s only small things that improve, I’ll consider my mission accomplished. Anyone who is brave enough to pick up a pen and start writing can be an epic writer, even if you start out not knowing what you’re doing. After all, that’s how I began. That’s pretty much how we all began. So, I hope this competition has helped you in some way, even if it has only made you unafraid to attempt new things. 

    I’ll stop rambling now and get to the point. You want to know where you fell in the final rankings, right? Well, let’s get to it!

    In FOURTH PLACE, out of thirty-seven total contestants, is HAZEL GATOYA!

    • Becka: Hazel has shown a lot of growth throughout this competition.  I think that each round, she has taken all of the judges' comments into consideration and has used them to make her next piece even better.  Hazel has a tremendous amount of creativity as well.  All of her pieces have been unique and interesting.  I would never use the word "cliché" to describe one of her pieces.  However, after a while, her pieces all started to sound the same to her.  I would have liked to see some variety in her writing, but it wasn't there. If I was going to recommend anything to Hazel, I would recommend practicing in multiple genres and exploring more topics, because she definitely has potential to do great things with her writing.
    • Ellie: Your stories are always so exciting, so intriguing. You’ve come up with some off the more memorable characters and storylines this entire competition. I’ve really enjoyed watching you grow as a writer and discover new faucets to your talent. You have quite the gift. I think there were some moments where you got in your head a bit and allowed it to influence your writing ability, but the raw talent is there. And it shines brilliantly when you are in your element.
    • Grant: Hazel is strongest in her comfort zone. Given a world she can create, plenty of free time, and free range to really play into character relationships and personality and you've got arguably the strongest and most creative in the competition. Where I feel Hazel fell short was when asked to step outside of her comfort zone, she would seem lost and unsure of what to do. Adding some glaring weaknesses to her pieces. When Hazel is on, she's one of my favorite writers and I love her bizarre, overly creative work. This is a great thing to learn! Hazel has carved out her own style and clearly understands who she is. Is that enough to win a "most well rounded writer" contest? No, but she's definitely Hazel and she's definitely the best at that.
    • Jo: You’ve improved a lot through the contest and I did think you’d make it to the end. There were some entries like Aces and Today it Rained that left something to be desired, but as far as I can tell, you’ve always been able to stick to the requirements of the contest and impress me. I loved Ghosts, Shadow Games, and Identity a lot.
    • Tilda: You’ve delivered a lot of good pieces. Like most writers, you’ve gone up and down through this contest but have delivered and proved that yes, you know what you’re doing. Yes, you deserve to keep moving forward. You’ve made a point and made it well. There’s a reason you’ve made it through all this, even if you ended up in a dangerous position once in a while. But you picked yourself off, dusted off and didn’t let it mess anything up. You’ve taken advice to heart and it shows. One of my personal favorites was Identity, standing out to me in a way a lot of the others didn’t. I really loved the way you really found perfect descriptions, the way you created an unique atmosphere and really created something memorable.

    Hazel, this wasn’t originally announced, and I only decided to do this last week, but I will personally review two of your stories up to 6,000 words each. If you want me to review the first chapter or two of one story and a flash fiction piece, I am okay with that. Or, if you have a much longer piece, you may combine it and have me review up to 12,000 words. Your choice. My only thing is that I may not be able to get to it until after July 22nd; I have a summer job starting this upcoming Saturday that runs until then, and I am not sure how much free time I will have. So, think on it and let me know. I will get to it when I can. Congratulations!

    In THIRD PLACE, out of thirty-seven total contestants, is JANE APRICITY!

    • Becka: If Figgy Idol had a "Most Improved" award for the season, I would have to give it to Jane.  Jane wasn't really on my radar at the beginning of the competition, but now I fully believe that she belongs in the final round.  Jane has shown a lot of growth throughout this competition.  She paid attention to what the judges told her and used our comments to make each piece better than the last.  Jane also showed the ability to write well in multiple genres.  I think that if she needed to work on anything for the future, it would be worldbuilding and backgrounds.  Many of her pieces could have benefitted from additional information about what was going on, and with a little work in this area Jane could move to be a really amazing writer.
    • Ellie: I will admit that you were a surprise for me in this competition. A pleasant one, but a surprise nonetheless. I think you have grown the most out of all of the writers here, and I am so happy I was able to witness it. Your stories always have a sense of realism that brings us back down to earth while still having that hint of fantasy. You have tenacity and determination that saw you through every round. You continuously proved why you should move forward, and I have enjoyed watching your journey through this crazy process. A place in the top four is well-earned and well-deserved. Congrats!
    • Grant: I think more so than anybody, Jane really took what she was being given judging wise to heart. That speaks volumes to me. There is still a lot of youth and inexperience in the writing, things that need to be tweaked, harnessed, and cut but that all comes with lots and lots of practice. More than anything, Jane was fearless in taking the weirdness we threw at her, was humble in taking correction and advice, and will certainly only get stronger with the years.
    • Jo: Overall, you’ve done an excellent job through the contest and I’ve been impressed. I loved Shutdown, Hempen Jig, Echo, and Oblivion the most, but I was never disappointed in your work. Purgation could have used some more work, but I don’t think any other submissions of yours have ever felt like they were less than excellent.
    • Tilda: You’ve come with a lot of solid pieces and I particularly remember some of the more emotional ones. Your piece for the first round, I believe it was, is one of my favorites for this entire season. There’s been ups and downs, but you’ve bravely explored a lot of different genres and topics and even gone all the way with an unusual point of view. While I’ve been nagging a lot on things, especially research-related things, you’ve continued to push through and deliver over and over. I’m really impressed with how well you’ve done in the different topics, showing a whole lot of creativity and imagination. I’ve been harsh on everyone, I think, and I’m probably one of the most difficult and annoying readers anyone can have. But you’ve actually managed to make me cry during this contest and that’s not something that happens a lot. You’ve shown a great deal of improvement and I have no doubt that you can do a whole lot with your writing!

    Jane, you have won a creative consultation with Grant, an art package from Tilda, and an in-depth review of three stories of your choosing up to 6,000 words each here on Figment! The reviews will be done by myself (or you can try to talk another judge into it if you want). I may not be able to start these reviews until late this month or even August as I will be gone for the next two weeks with limited Internet access. But let me know what you decide, and I will get to them when I can. Congratulations!

    In SECOND PLACE, and our runner-up, is ELIZABETH!

    • Becka: Elizabeth has been a great contestant during this competition.  Each round, she has given us a wonderfully creative take on the prompt that has made her consistently stand out during this competition.  It comes as no surprise that she made it this far in the competition.  The thing that stands out the most to me in Elizabeth's work is how internal all of it is.  Her pieces are driven by thought and introspection, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.  I would love to see her work on bringing her characters out into the world, however.  Her pieces lack an interaction with the external world, and if she would have combined the internal thoughts with external interactions, they would have been stellar.  I'm very impressed with Elizabeth and would love to see her improve even more.
    • Ellie: Your journey with us has been a grand one. You were a middle-of-the-roader for a good portion of this competition. But these last few rounds, man, you jumped straight to the top. You wrote pieces that were fluid and dynamic, really taking the time to showcase your abilities. I’ve been a fan off yours since the beginning, and to see you here in the top four puts a smile on my face. It’s been a great ride.
    • Grant: One of the more creative writers of the competition, Elizabeth has been stunning throughout. Elizabeth was a master prompt interpreter, never afraid to try new things and really play with her style. Did it always work? No, but part of writing is playing around and really figuring out what you're about and learning as much as you can about different styles. Everything wasn't executed perfectly, but it didn't have to be. A strong showing from an incredibly promising writer.
    • Jo: During the beginning of the competition, I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about your work. Some times the stories tended to drag on a little bit and made it a little difficult for me to keep my focus on it and not miss something. However, around half way through I started really enjoying your stories more and more. While during the beginning I wasn’t the biggest fan of Annabelinda, The Puzzle, or The Melting of Tahlia Lê, you went and impressed me with A Little Snag, The Dark, and Think. You did a good job this season.
    • Tilda: Your stories have often impressed me on the creativity. You’re not afraid to write what you feel is right and there’s been a lot of pieces that felt fresh even with topics that everyone was familiar with. You’ve done so well with a lot of stories, I know I really liked the Melting of Thalia Lê, and I feel like through all of this contest you’d made it clear you intended to make it far. And you really have. I think your stories have gotten more balanced and your writing feels more effortless and natural now that it did to begin with. You definitely didn’t get here through luck, you’ve earned it.

    Elizabeth, you have won a creative consultation with Grant, an art package from Tilda, and an in-depth review of four stories of your choosing up to 6,000 words each here on Figment! The reviews will be done by myself (or you can try to talk another judge into it if you want). I may not be able to start these reviews until late this month or even August as I will be gone for the next two weeks with limited Internet access. But let me know what you decide, and I will get to them when I can. Congratulations!

    And our newest FIGGY IDOL is… STEPHANIE S!

    • Becka: Stephanie, in my opinion, has been one of the strongest writers this season.  She has consistently written wonderful pieces, and I have greatly enjoyed reading her pieces and watching her grow.  Her descriptions especially have made her works stand out to me.  I always have a very clear image of what is going on, and Stephanie appeals to all the senses through her writing, which I have enjoyed.  Stephanie has taken the prompts and done something unique with each of them, which I think has boded well for her.  Stephanie, I have greatly enjoyed watching your progress over the course of the competition.  Good luck in all of your future writing endeavors.
    • Ellie: You came into this competition roaring. It was evident even from your audition piece how strong your writing abilities are. You’ve been consistently at the top You have been able to attack the challenges we’ve thrown at you guys, taken them and grown from them. It’s been such a joy seeing your progress throughout the duration of this competition.
    • Grant: Once Stephanie caught fire there was no stopping her. And she caught fire during a challenge when other writers seemed to struggle and never turned back. Constantly finding herself in the top three, tickling our senses with lush details, giving us gripping and involved characters. There's no question in my head who the top writer this season was as Stephanie gradually pushed her way to be head and shoulders over the rest
    • Jo: Throughout this competition, I’ve been torn between loving your work and hoping for more. Certain stories you’ve submitted such as A Morning Without Mrs. Whitford or The Lady of the House left me thinking that maybe a second draft would have been a good idea. Then you submitted entries like Life at Alhern and Beyond The Stars and I could really see your talent. Beyond the Stars impressed me so much and I think you did an excellent job in this competition. You really deserved to make it this far.
    • Tilda: The quality of your work has, overall, been very consistent. You’ve done well and stood fairly high on the rankings regularly. I think you tend to run a little poetic and vague in your writing, but I do feel like you’ve gotten more balanced in your overall work through this competition and have handled the different prompts well. It’s been interesting to follow your different pieces and see where things went. There’s been different topics and challenges, but you’ve stood firm and let your voice show. There’s always room for improvement in everyone, but you have shown that you are comfortable with what you do and that’s a great place to be for those that want to take their work to a whole new level.

    Stephanie, you have won a full review of a completed manuscript from Becka, a creative consultation with Grant, an art package from Tilda, and an in-depth review of five stories of your choosing up to 6,000 words each here on Figment! The five reviews will be done by myself (or you can try to talk another judge into it if you want). I may not be able to start these reviews until late this month or even August as I will be gone for the next two weeks with limited Internet access. But let me know what you decide, and I will get to them when I can. In addition to all of that, you have won the coveted title of Figgy Idol! Congratulations!

    Congratulations to all of you! Please get in touch with the respective judges for information on your prizes and how to claim them.

    I want to thank every single contestant we had this round--all thirty-seven of you! You made this season what it was: fantastic! I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, even the ones where I was pulling my hair out because it was the judging deadline and I still had yet to start judging because I had fifty other school assignments due that week. It was worth every lost strand off hair. Thank you again

    To my judges, I couldn’t have done it without you. Grant and Tilda, thank you for putting up with me these last several seasons. You two are amazing and a joy to work with. Becca and Jo, thank you for stepping in this season. Your feedback has been invaluable, and you were a wonderful asset to our Figgy Idol team

    To those of you who participated in the Write-Along, thank you! I am so happy to see others participating. It’s been fun reading your stories and getting the chance to see your creativity.

    To the spectators, we are so happy to have you here! I hope you’ve enjoyed following along in this competition as much as we enjoyed bringing it to life. We hope to see you with us in future seasons of Figgy Idol. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll be in our top four next season

    To anyone I missed, THANK YOU! I cannot thank everyone enough

    Figgy Idol season four has officially concluded



    OH, before you go, please do me the favor of filling out the end-of-season survey that I make for every season of Figgy Idol (except season three, but we aren’t going there). All of the information can be found in this discussio. I appreciate your time, feedback, and effort.

  • Stephanie2 Icon-member Stephanie S

    I'm honestly so thankful--and shocked. I had to let this process for a bit before I started writing this post. I'm so thankful for this competition; before Figgy Idol, I was in a huge writing slump. I was starting to think I should just give up on my novel, on my stories, even my creative writing major. I wasn't sure if I'd even make it past the first round. I'm so grateful for you all; everyone brought their best and I loved reading your stories and losing myself in your worlds. Without the judges, I would have been lost. Grant, Ellie, Becka, Tilda, Jo--you each helped mold my pieces and take them places I'd never thought possible. Perhaps I'm being a little dramatic, but I'm so glad I was able to participate this season, and I can't wait to see what season five brings!

  • 2 Icon-non-member Jane Apricity

    Sorry for the silence! We just got settled into out new house.

    Congratulations Stephanie! I really enjoyed reading your works through the contest. You're a fantastic writer.

    And a huge thank you to the judges. I appreciate your feedback so much, and you've all helped me find out areas that I'm weak in that I wouldn't have realized on my own. I've learned more from this contest than I have in three years of more serious writing on my own!

  • E21481bc8b34a1dea9a29334f55ab390 Icon-member E. Anderson

    Just got back from a road trip, and man, was I surprised when I saw the results! First I want to say congratulations to Stephanie! You really, really deserve that title! I've read some of your pieces this season, and they are some of the most fantastic I have ever seen on Figment.

    Second, thank you to the judges, for believing in and pushing me through this season. I appreciate all of your feedback and help, and am very happy to be named runner-up, though I think all of these wonderful finalists could have earned any of these finalizing titles with their works.

    And speaking of the other finalists, you all did awesome! I have read some of your pieces during this season as well, and all I can say is wow. Each and every one of you (and each and every one of the people competing throughout this season in total) are great writers, and your words will take you places. Stellar job!

  • Inktober_day_four_peeved_by_hazelgatoya-dbpgwwt Icon-member Hazel Gatoya

    Congratulations Stephanie! Thank you to the judges as well, for all of your feedback. I had a great time during this competition.

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