Announcing the Unexpected Writer's Contest

Hello Episode Authors,

It’s time to start the next Writer’s Contest!

The theme is Unexpected!

Contest Intro

Love can be unexpected in every way possible! Maybe MC falls for the last person they’d least expect? Maybe they find themself in an unexpected locale, falling for the polar opposite of what they normally go for?

Story Guidelines

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

  2. Your story should be within in the Romance genre, but that does not mean you cannot write a Rom-Com, Romantic Thriller, etc. We want your story to explore your character finding themselves in an unexpected situation, from finding love with their polar opposite to finding themselves stuck in a small town when they’re used to living in a big city.

  3. The main character and love interest must be introduced in the first episode.

  4. You may write in either Cinematic (full-body, animated) or Spotlight (animated upper bodies) Styles or a combo of the two.

  5. We 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!

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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 removed 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.

Please be aware that our team will not answer any questions regarding specific plot points and whether they meet the requirements of the contest.

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 once the contest is over. You CAN publish new chapters during the judging period; however, you may not substantially alter or change your (first) 3 published chapters after the deadline (other than to make minor corrections).
  2. Gem choices are not required unless you are going for the new prize as detailed below. Please see the New Contest Prize section for more information.

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 Friday, January 6, 2023. 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 Tuesday, January 3, 2023. 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 to, edit or change your story description, 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!

Winners of this contest will still be featured on the Winners’ Shelf in the app. New for this contest, we will be offering authors on the winner’s shelf who meet the gem choice requirement the opportunity to enter our Commissions Program!

This new prize does come with a separate requirement that will affect your eligibility to win.

To be eligible:

  1. You must have at least 2 story-related gem choices in each of your first 3 chapters, for a total of 6. The gem choices included should be narrative driven and make sense based on the story.

Gem choices that meet the requirements include:

  • Bonus Content/Scenes
  • Outfits
  • Dialogue choices

Gem choices that will NOT meet the requirements include:

  • Support the Author
  • Skip the Wait
  • Topping up Points

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.

Our special prize winners will be contacted separately by the Episode team to discuss further details of their win!

Gem Choice Guides and Checklist Links - Please note that these will be linked in a couple days!

Gem Choice Guide

Sample Gem Choices Slides

Gem Choice Checklist

Happy writing!

The Episode Team


Frequently Asked Questions About Contest Rules:

Can my story be a sequel to my existing story, or about my existing characters?

No, your story must be a new work written for the contest.

Can I enter my already published story into the contest?

No, your story must be a new work written for the contest.

If I never published a story with a similar idea, can I enter it into the contest?

Yes, an unpublished story, even if it was written before the contest was announced, can be entered into the contest.

When is the best time to publish?

Within the last 7-15 days of the contest deadline is the most optimal time. This gives you time to get everything approved, see if there are any issues and make edits, and make any major changes before you’re locked in after the deadline.

Can I edit my story after the deadline?

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, add additional scenes, choices, dialogue, backgrounds or overlays.

Can I enter my story on the submission form now?

Please wait to enter your story until you’ve published it! This way if you make any changes to things like the title, you don’t need to worry about or change your entry.

Frequently Asked Questions About Contest Story Plots:

In episode 1, can I show my main characters meeting in a flashback, dream sequence, etc?

Yes, as long as the situation and the main characters are introduced and shown in Episode 1. Your story will not qualify if this is not shown in Episode 1.

Can I have multiple characters be in the situation?

Your story must focus on the main character being directly impacted by their journey. Other characters can be present, but the core idea should be the main character going on a hero’s journey, in whatever form that takes for you and your story.



1 Like

It’s out!

Looks pretty interesting
I don’t know if I will join tho :smiley:
We’ll see

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So interesting, wow.

enemies to lovers has entered the chat


I was so excited until I read this! I have the perfect plot, but it revolves around sisterhood and kinship, NOT romance.


omg I wanna enter but I’m slow af when it comes to coding and planning :smiling_face_with_tear::smiling_face_with_tear::broken_heart:


Romance is so limiting…


Probably entering :thinking:

But, there is a lot that can be explored with this

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who is going to enter this contest :smirk:


I might.


definitely considering it, wbu!


Eh, not going to enter. Was expecting horror or anything mystery like. But anyway goodluck to yall who joinin.


I am:P

1 Like

anyone want to make a group chat on insta for the contest? to summarise ideas and give each other suggestions/coding tips? <3


I can!