How I Use It
As I said before, it is high on the hip and cool creative factor, inspirational in its plethora of writing contests, and very helpful in its promotion of new YA literature. But, its usefulness for teaching is still limited to the imagination and push of driven literature and LA teachers. I found it helpful this last year when a colleague and I embarked on the ambitious curricular journey of having our entire 7th grade participate in the NaNoWriMo (ywp.nanowrimo.org) Young Writers Program. We used some of Figment's creative writing challenges to juice the creativity of our more advanced writers. In the end, we had three students who met or exceeded their goal of writing a 30,000 word novel. One young lady even reached the adult writer's goal of 50,000!
Figment is a great place to look for literary inspiration for those adolescents who have already moved on to rolling their eyes at Twilight and its imitators by the time they hit 7th grade. Seriously, Figment has just enough sarcasm to catch the attention of talented 7th and 8th graders (and beyond) without killing their desire to create something literary. It frequently rewards those who dare to create by sponsoring contest with great prizes (phone call from a YA author to advise you on your writing, anyone?). I think it is still untapped in its actual classroom potential, but it is very promising.