Young people interested in writing have a new home, and it’s Figment.com.
The site launched in early December, calling itself an online community for young writers to share work samples, receive feedback from other young writers, read and explore new, young fiction writers.
Jacob Lewis, a former managing editor at the New Yorker, and Dana Goodyear, a staff writer at the New Yorker, created the site, originally envisioning it to be a similar to a social network site, like the young adults’ literary Facebook. However, the two noticed that young adults didn’t want another Facebook.
What they wanted, “was to read and write and discover new content, but around the content itself,” said Lewis, quoted in an article in the New York Times
Figment is a free platform for young adults, encouraging them to write and read new fiction. The site also includes a mobile platform where aspiring writers can read and submit work, ranging from poems to short stories and novels.
This idea came from Goodyear in 2008, when she wrote a 6,000-word article for the New Yorker about young Japanese women who were writing fiction on their cellular phones.
Since then, the two have been promoting Figment at schools, literary organizations and libraries throughout the nation, recruiting several hundred students who would be willing to participate and post literary work.
“We wanted people to be able to write whatever they wanted in whatever form they wanted,” Lewis told the New York Times. “We give them a piece of paper and say, ‘Go.’ ” He noted that people have posted work, including fantasy, science fiction, biographical work, and long serial novels. “There’s a very earnest and exacting quality to what they’re doing.”
Many publishers will be paying close attention to Figment and the most popular work on it, trying to glean key insights into the literature young adults gravitate toward and introducing them to certain books and work.
Lewis said that he hopes figment can at least capture a million users, serving as an opportunity for publishers to pluck young talent out of and promote their own authors by publishing novel excerpts.
“For publishers this is an amazing opportunity to not only reach your consumers but to find out really valuable information about how they are reading,” Lewis told the New York Times.
Figment has already signed on a few publishers, most notably Running Press Kids, a member of the Perseus Books Group. They will provide a novel excerpt from “Purple Daze,” a historical novel for young adults by Sherry Shahan.