Announcing the Own Voices Writer’s Contest!

Hello Episode Authors,

We know you’ve been anxiously waiting for us to announce another Writer’s Contest. Well, now the time has finally arrived!

The theme is…Own Voices!

We all have different experiences in our lives, and these experiences shape how we perceive the world, how the world perceives us and ultimately, how we experience it. Some of these experiences are specific to our race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Story Guidelines

  1. Your story must have “OV” in the title. Stories without “OV” in the title will be disqualified. While not required for entry it is strongly recommended that you format your title like this - “OV: 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’s experience with being a member of a community you understand and of which you are a member. We’re looking for stories similar to what you’d see on an Own Voices shelf, such as Pride, AAPI Voices, Black History Month, etc.

    The main character and their identity and/or a love interest (if applicable) must be shown in the first episode.

    Examples of possible plots:

    • You’re working towards your dream of becoming an Olympic figure skater, but your strict Asian parents will settle for no less than being perfect in school, skating, and everything in between. Can you succeed while still making sure to preserve the joy and love you have for skating?
    • Falling in love was the easy part, but staying together is the challenge when neither of you have come out to your parents for fear of their reaction. Can your love survive navigating through such challenging family dynamics?
  3. You may write in either Cinematic (full-body, animated) or Spotlight (animated upper bodies) Styles or a combo of the two.

  4. We would love to see diverse characters in your stories, especially for this contest! For example, characters who are people of color, non-heteronormative, or are of varying religions, abilities, 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 published to Episode or any 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 are in violation of our Content Guidelines may be disqualified and/or have their story banned from the app.

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).

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 8 weeks. Your story must be published no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 19th, 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, July 14th, 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.

Happy writing!

The Episode Team


Please don’t call me slow but… I’m still confused.



No gem choices either?:grin:


About the prompt?



lmaooo no i am as well

Yes, about the prompt.

It looks like you’re supposed to write from the perspective of someone who identifies with a certain community + their struggles?


I am IN


I’m kinda getting more of the write about how a characters unique experiences effect their lives and how they perceive the world? not only certain communities but idk


Not sure what I’m going to do yet but hopefully I can make it work with a thriller/mystery.


So you want to write using your own experiences. For example, maybe you’re half white and half latino while your partner is full Latino, and what that experience is like with their family.

Ideally should be a community you’re a part of and understand through your own lived experiences.

Also can be true.


That would be cool!

No idea if I’ll enter this one or not. Can’t think of a story about anxiety atm :eye::lips::eye:

I also don’t like to write about myself


Can it be like an arrange marriage theme because people in society in cultures have to deal with this?

1 Like

i suppose it wouldnt have to be exactly your experience, like maybe you could metaphorize some things, i cant imagine why that wouldnt be allowed


Does this mean there has to be a love interest? Seems a bit restrictive if so. :confused:


You don’t have to write about yourself specifically, but pulling from your own experiences is a great way to find inspiration. Lots of authors use their own life experiences to influence their characters or the situations they put them into. For example, one of my favorite authors has autism spectrum disorder, and all of her main characters have it as well.

That is an experience people in many cultures do have.

Yes, there does. While it could be viewed as restrictive, it could also be viewed as a plot device.


I have a story which I think could fit the theme, but I wanna make sure it does…

Would it work if my story revolves around the MC trying to make her way into the industry (she wants to be a singer) as a Black woman and the struggles that comes with it?



i really do like this theme >:D although, in this situation would it be appropriate to write “non-realistic” standards? for ex, a pirate going on an adventure that they shouldn’t even if they’re not in a “specific community”?


I was curious about this too. Like can it be “made up” communities for example a woman in the future or a supernatural being with humans or something not so modern day :woman_shrugging: @Tory