Announcing the Heroic Writer’s Contest!

Hello Episode Authors,

We know you’ve been anxiously waiting since the start of the year for us to announce another Writer’s Contest. Well, now the time has come time to start the next Writer’s Contest!

The theme is…Heroic!

You must journey to find out who you truly are. Whether that journey is one of self-discovery, to save your kingdom/home/world, or to find your way back home, you need every ounce of strength and determination to reach the end.


Contest Intro

To celebrate our recent announcement of the Commissioned Authors Program, this contest is designed for authors wanting to take their interactive fiction writing skills to the next level. Unlike any other contest we’ve run before, this one has a gem choice requirement for all entries.

We recognize that some of you might be upset at the inclusion of a gem choice requirement and we hear you. Our intent with this contest is to create an opportunity specifically for authors who are looking to learn how to use gem choices, for authors who are working towards unlocking Writer Payments via gem reads or for those interested in achieving a spot in the Commissions program. We hope that those of you who are not interested in these goals can be supportive of those who are.

We’ve made this contest 12 weeks long to give participants extra time to work on choices since this may be a new or developing skill for many of you. We’ve built some guides and a checklist to help you get started with these (links also at the bottom of the page). If you’ve never written gem choices before, or even if you have, we strongly encourage you to read through these materials before you start writing your story.


Story Guidelines

  1. Your story must have “Heroic” in the title. Stories without “Heroic” in the title will be disqualified. While not required for entry it is strongly recommended that you format your title like this - “Heroic: TITLE HERE” This will help readers search for your story and identify it as a contest entry.

  2. Your story can be in any genre, but it should explore a character going on a hero’s journey and how that journey changes them.

    The main character and the call to action for their journey must be shown in the first episode.

    Examples of possible plots:

    • A sickness has swept through your village, and the only cure is a week’s journey away through perilous terrain. Can you make it in time to save your family and neighbors or will you falter under the pressure?
    • A curious stranger arrives at your door unannounced with a message from a relative you’ve never met looking for your assistance with a secret matter. What you weren’t expecting is this “secret matter” is part of what you thought was just a family rumor. Can you succeed in finding the truth or will you end up just going in circles?
    • You get sent to a boarding school where you feel isolated from everyone in both your past and present. Walking down the halls, you see a poster calling for people to join a production aiming to go to nationals. Will joining the production help you heal from your past, or will the past come back to haunt you?
  3. You may write in either Cinematic (full-body, animated) or Spotlight (animated upper bodies) Styles or a combo of the two. You can use any art style you prefer.

  4. We would love to see diverse characters in your stories! For example, characters who are people of color, non-heteronormative, or are of varying religions and socioeconomic backgrounds, just to name a few!

  5. You may NOT use or re-title a previously published story. This must be a new, original work not previously been published to Episode or other platforms. Sequels, prequels, spin-offs, etc. are also not allowed.

  6. If you are an official Episode Director or Writer you may enter the contest, but only with original work outside the scope of your contract with us.

  7. Be sure that your story follows our content guidelines. Stories that do not follow or which violate our Content Guidelines may be disqualified and/or have their story banned from the app. If you have any doubts or questions about whether elements or themes of your story fit with our Content Guidelines please contact the Episode Review team here. We are happy to help you with ANY questions you might have!


Story Requirements

  1. There is a length requirement for this contest. You need to have 3 completed chapters published by the entry deadline. Your story may be a complete short story or can be continued after the contest is over. You CAN publish new chapters during the judging period. However, you may not substantially alter or change your 3 published chapters after the deadline (other than to make minor corrections).

  2. You must have at least 2 story-related gem choices in each of your first 3 chapters, for a total of 6. You can include choices that allow your readers to top up points or support the author, but these will not count towards your gem choice requirement. The goal here is to give authors who want it the opportunity to practice writing real gem choices that are related to the story.

  3. There is no genre requirement for this contest. You may write in any genre you wish.


Entering the Contest

  1. You must completely fill out this Google form to enter. In the event that you send the wrong link or make a mistake on your entry form, please send your story title, email address and the correct link in a support ticket so we can update your entry.

  2. The submission window is 12 weeks. Your story must be published no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time on Tuesday, April 12th, 2022. To find out what time that is in your time zone, go here!

  3. Remember to allow at least 3 business days prior to the contest deadline for your backgrounds, overlays and story cards to be reviewed. This means you should plan on submitting them no later than Thursday, April 7, 2022. You may not add, change or modify story cards, backgrounds, or overlays after the entry deadline until the winner’s shelf is announced.


Editing During the Contest Period

  1. Fixing typos and errors are allowed after the deadline for contest entries. This includes things like character or speech bubble placement, spelling / grammatical errors or typos. You may not: add options to your CC, change or update your cover art, change your story’s genre, add additional scenes, choices, dialogue, backgrounds or overlays. When in doubt, ask Support before making any changes. Once the winner’s shelf has been made public you are free to make changes or updates to your story.

Determining Winners

  1. Winners are determined based on the highest levels of reader engagement, rubric score and fit to contest theme. Check out our Episode Explained articles on Creator’s Contests, the Grading Rubric and Reader Retention for more info on how they all work. As well, we recommend using keywords to your advantage, to help interested readers find your story quickly! For more information on how best to use Episode keywords, check this article out!

Contest Winners

Winners from this contest will be showcased in a special event shelf in the Episode app and get a shoutout on our social media account! Winners will be announced 3-6 weeks after the submission deadlines pass as the stories need time to gain reads in the app and for our staff to review them.


Gem Choice Guides and Checklist Links

Gem Choice Guide

Sample Gem Choices Slide Deck

Gem Choice Checklist


Happy writing!

The Episode Team

86 Likes

Finally! And such a great theme :star_struck:

2 Likes

Can they be outfit gem choices? @Tory

14 Likes

Yes, outfit choices count

17 Likes

Iam so entering this contest. I have lots of ideas :eyes:

3 Likes

Hi Liz, just to check with the gem choices! If I was going to offer a choice to do thing x or thing y or thing x and y for gems, does that count as the story related gem choice? :slight_smile:

9 Likes

YESSS! I am so happy!

1 Like

Do the gem choices HAVE to be important to the story? Or could the choice just change it in a small way?

11 Likes

Yes! That counts.

6 Likes

Thank you so much for clarifying! It may be hard to walk the line between satisfying and overboard choices, but it seems such a fun challenge!

7 Likes

me looking at this contest like: nope no story ideas come into my mind. sadly.

oh well, got to focus on my ongoing story first anyways.

15 Likes

seems cool! i have some ideas

2 Likes

I love this theme. I’ve already been writing a story that could work with this theme. I am struggling with thinking of ways to include gems though.

9 Likes

I mean as long as you never published it on any other platform or published it at all i think its fine! :slightly_smiling_face:

5 Likes

For Liz or Tori,

Does this mean the main character doesn’t have to be a “hero” exactly? They just need to go through their own call to action?

Could we also go a more villainous route, if the more villainous MC was the hero in their own story? Or would even villainous MCs who are actually the villain in their own story count too?

And would something like a secret agent being sent back on a mission count?

15 Likes

Hey this might be a silly question but can you clarify by what story-related gem choices mean? So would it like affect the dialogue somehow or say the character’s journey? @Tory

6 Likes

Yesss i want an answer for this like can the main character be heroically bad? Or like a villan? @Liz

Like can the mc’s goal be smth evil?

5 Likes

Okayy I have a story in mind. :nerd_face::tada:

3 Likes

chileeee, the ghetto :yawning_face: not gem choices being a requirement. if you want to introduce a way for authors to learn how to use gem choices don’t make it a requirement for a contest.

anyway, this is a reasonable deadline.

26 Likes

Can the MC realize how their heroic journey has change them in later episodes? Or does it have to be in one of the 3 required episodes?

6 Likes