Duolingo Call for Stories
Are you a writer who loves Duolingo Stories? Now is your big chance to submit your own!
We’re holding an open call for new stories from May 11th until June 8th, 2018. If your story is selected, we’ll publish it and give you a USD $500 reward! Interested? Here’s what we’re looking for:
Stories should fit within our format:
- Gripping fiction stories (they can be fun, romantic or scary… or all at once!);
- Family-friendly, appropriate for the Duolingo audience;
- Written in English (If selected, your story will likely be modified/simplified. We'll handle translating it prior to publishing it on Duolingo Stories);
- Self-contained. Your story has to have a clear narrative arc: something has to happen in it. If nothing happens, then it isn’t right for us. And at the end, the story should have some kind of resolution (i.e. it ends in a clear and final way). Imagine that you are telling this story to your friends: you have to include anything that’s dramatic, funny or interesting, because you want to entertain them!
- 150 to 250 words.
The process is as follows:
- Our team will read every story, and we’ll contact you if we’re interested.
- You’ll earn a $500 USD reward if your story is published on Duolingo Stories!
To find out more and submit your story, go here.
The Duolingo Team
Lucimary6 and Steph_Malpass will be helping me answer any questions you might have about this post!
One submission per person
I pulled up Word the second I saw this. I’m definitely going to submit something.
Quick question before I slam at the keyboard, though; other than being family-friendly, are there any restrictions on vocabulary? I’m wondering if we should avoid using words that are harder to translate or words rarer than the most common 5,000 or something of the like.
Sounds awesome, but I would like be able to understand the final product (which I wouldn't, if it would only be published in French, Spanish, Portuguese or German) and see exactly what changes were made. I would only understand it if it got translated into Norwegian! I could try writing it in English and Norwegian, and then have a native speaker approve/revise it. Then it could be saved in case Norwegian stories ever come out. Or not. I might just be too hopeful, however, I know that at least most of the Norwegian learners are hoping for stories, as well.
This sounds a great idea !
I would recommend doing this. Though make sure you submit the native English version. For the piece will be judged according to the judges decision on the English version.
Then, if you win, pull out this information as well.
Because it is coming from the point of view of native Norwegian, I would say you could have some interesting resources to call upon.
Please note, I am not in anyway engaged in what this project is. I am only commenting In My Opinion (IMO).
As one of our chief authorities, Steph_Malpass has commented:
It's all about the content!
I wish you the best of luck in your writing adventure.
I'm not sure about that. In the browser that I don't normally use, I've signed out of my Duolingo account and selected French as my native language. I am working on the English tree, but there is no "Stories" tab. I think the questions that go with the stories are only in English for now.
If you have an idea for an original story written by you, then it is well worth it, I would suggest.
Mind you, I am volunteer here, and not engaged with this project.
Translating poetry to other languages though is challenging, due to grammar and word choice available in the target language.
However if writing in prose assists in making a great story, and within the criteria, I would say the team judging the submissions may look favorably upon it. I see that for some it could also help in keeping sentences short and to the point, that can be advantageous for language learning. And also it could be a good way to repeat certain key concepts in the target language, which also might make it something that may draw the attention of the judges. Though there is no guarantee of this in any way.
Yet by looking at comments from the judges, do not limit yourself in anyway to word choice, except that it is an engaging and appropriate story within the criteria, for Duolingo as per the judges decision.
So I would like to encourage you to do this.
Though bear in mind the comment by Steph_Malpass :
We definitely encourage natural, realistic sounding dialogue.
Hi! While we do encourage submissions to be as clear and simple as possible, you don't have to worry about language levels. Our team will adapt the winning entries for translation.
they should be written in prose or dialogue.
Please note, I am not associated with this competition. I am just putting my measly 2 Australian cents in as an observer, and in my opinion.
I submitted a story but ended up editing it about 5 times once submitting as once posted its format gets changed and it ends up with no paragraphs but just a running flow of text. It says on it to "cut and paste from a text editor document" to avoid issues like that but I think I did. I firstly tried doing it from my note pad and then when that didn't work, I tried it from "word" which I really thought was a text editor document? but had same issue so now Im confused on how to get the format to stay correct once posted?
Will my story be rejected due to having no actual paragraphs due to this? (I ended up resorting to actually writing into it [new paragraph] into where they should be)
This is a fantastic idea! Kudos to Duolingo for doing this. :)
Regarding the word limit, I'm wondering—in the case of a "Radio Play" dialogue-based story, would the indication of which character is speaking be included in that number or not?
For instance, would the following exchange be counted as four words (counting only the dialogue itself) or six words (including "Sarah" and "Duo" in the number)?
Duo: How are you?
Thanks so much for doing this!
I am a very happy user of the Duolingo stories, and I love it when they are written in natural language, with dialogs that could actually happen. For me, the stories are something that goes beyond the stuff we learn in our language trees. On the language level, they should be challenging to make me happy.
(And the Duolingo team will ensure the right level -- therefore, in my opinion, you should write as naturally as possible.)
I've decided on the rules for this one: write to delight, surprise or intrigue.
Plus, if anyone needs some additional "grist for the mill," I found this article by David Gaffney, a British flash fiction writer. I have no idea what his stories are like, but the writing advice seemed sound:
Afterthought: I think the flash fiction stories from the author I mentioned seem to be a little surreal (not that this is bad per se). I also notice there's not much dialogue.
I was recently talking to another user here about this opportunity and I'm so glad it is finally coming true! Thank you so much!
Just one question; I see that there is a strict word count, however, would it still be fine if my story is at ~260 words or even 300? It wouldn't make that much of a difference, I assume. However, if you really want users to abide to that word count, then I will find ways to shorten my story to strictly 250 words at most.
Again, thank you so much for giving us this awaited opportunity! I really look forward to reading the new stories!
Have you found out what to do if you submitted two stories by accident? I've sent the exact same stories twice because I wasn't sure the first one ever successfully turned in. (Later I realized the confirmation email was in my junk box!)
I asked the question in the discussion what should I do but I don't get any reply... I hope we don't get rejected just because we didn't follow the rule. After all it wasn't intentional but a simple mistake!
Hello! I'm new to Duolingo but not new to creative writing (I've had short stories published in a number of professional fantasy and sci-fi magazines), and I've seen a couple questions about this from other writers.
Are you open to stories that have been published previously, so long as the author still has the rights?
Specifically, what rights are you purchasing with that $500?
Would love to hear the answer to these questions, because $500 for 250 is a pretty sweet deal--and I love the format of the Duolingo stories, too!
Thanks for your response. :)
Will there be a contract for the selected authors, or something less formal? And, also, can you confirm that non-selected authors retain all rights to their material? (There are a some contests out there which just take rights for all submissions so it would be great to hear you aren't taking that path!)
I am adapting my story from a personal experience. I wrote a blog post about this experience that I posted on someone's blog a couple of years back. The original blog post was not in the form of a story--it was told as just an experience and a life reflection. I have taken the main idea of my experience and fictionalized it to make it into a short story. Is this acceptable, or do I need to ask to have that post removed from the blog?
Why only 250 words? I thought most stories on Duolingo were longer than that, of course there is a certain limit they should be, but 250 seems a bit short? I mean compared to most of the stories, which are of varying lengths, but most of them I'd say have a bit more than 250. What I'm really asking is why have they chosen to cap it at 250?
Hi! What happens with the author rights for the stories which are NOT selected? Normally they should remain to the user, but I wonder what your approach may be. I mean, it would seem fair, if someone can't use an idea on Duolingo, to use it someplace else, as it owns the idea in a particular shape, right? Not necessarily for language courses, could be another short story contest, or a theatrical play, or anything.
Fiction or Non-fiction?
Hi, @Lucimary6 and @Steph_Malpass. What a wonderful idea to spur creative submissions that will help Duolingo users to learn one or more foreign languages. Despite not having studied Spanish or Portuguese anywhere, I understood and enjoyed the humorous Spanish story, Cuidando un pájaro. I'm glad to see that these wonderful mini-stories are now available in French and German as well, both of which I am somewhat more familiar with. I think the story medium is a great assistance to the language learner, who may be able to contextually understand some new vocabulary without having recourse to a dictionary, an approach that closely parallels natural vocabulary acquisition and understanding of one's own language.
I've written a potential English-language submission and painstakingly pruned it down to be under 250 words, but was dismayed, on rereading the story criteria, to realize that you're calling for fictional narratives. I wrote, in my own words, a summary of a family-friendly good-news story which I had seen widely reported by different writers but which, since it relates a real event, would be classified as non-fiction.
Would such a submission be eligible, or should I write another unambiguously fictional story? By way of justification, I suppose one could say that a lot of great fiction is grounded in overheard dialogue or lived experience.
Kind regards, Erik Bjørn Pedersen
I wonder how many entries will be received. Many have posted that they submitted, and there were several others who said they wanted to or at least enjoyed the idea. Considering the level of interest, I hope Duolingo considers this contest a success! I really enjoyed writing for it, even if my story doesn't ultimately get selected, and I truly hope you'll do another one.
I'm not associated with this contest at all, but I'm sure it will take a little time. I co-run a weekly flash fiction contest, and judging is always SO much harder than you think it will be, especially if there are multiple judges. Having done this exact task numerous times in the past, I can tell you that I don't envy the judges right now. :)
They received (I think) a lot of submissions. In my experience, you can initially whittle things down a bit fairly easily, but then it usually gets really hard.
It's not always a matter of skill, either. People have varying tastes in stories and will see the merits of stories differently. (I've been part of a screenwriting judge panel before, and even when I thought there was an OBVIOUS clear winner due to the quality of the writing, other people disliked or disqualified it in their minds for other, completely unrelated reasons, such as if it could be filmed in our state.)
We also don't know how they will be judging. Will each pick a favorite? Will they "score" the stories based on criteria and average them? Will they discuss it until they come to a consensus? There's really no way to know.
Further, sometimes there are just more good entries than there are winners' spots, and you have to choose between multiple excellent entries. In that case, a selection choice may even come down to something aribitrary.
There's also the nebulous question of "Is it right for Duolingo?" (For example, I took a chance and submitted a pretty serious story, as I know their podcasts got fairly heavy. However, their stories so far have been pretty lighthearted, so I don't really think mine will be a match and don't expect to get selected, if for no other reason than that.)
Because there can only be three winners and because contests like this are always subjective and because there may be particular criteria that they are looking for, I hope everyone who isn't selected realizes it's nothing personal. I've entered many, many contests and received many, many rejections. It always stings. But don't take it to heart because you never 100% know what will be a fit for their exact needs, and being able to choose only three is probably really hard.
So for those of us who don't end up among the chosen few (three is such a small number), don't take it personally and don't give up on writing, if it's something you enjoy. Keep at it!
Google forms gets logged in Google sheets. The max amount of cells in Google sheets is 2 000 000. There are 15 questions in the form -> 16 fields if counting one extra for an ID. 2 000 000 / 16 = 125 000. Minus one because there's a header row on top. But it's not like they'd ever get that many entrees :P.
Since it's come up several times perhaps update the top post with the fact that it's limited to one submission per person.
I have a couple of questions.
How many "winners" will there be? Aka, how many stories will be selected?
What form will the $500 USD reward take? Gift cards? Amazon credit? Wire transfer? Mailed check? Free premium Duo access for life?
I'm a writer and I'm really interested in doing this. I write horror stories. But I do have a few questions.
Do you want it to be over simplified when we submit it? Like do you want us to say "The man looked at the house. The house looked very old and it reminded him of his past" or can we go into more detail and say "The man looked at the old house and an uneasy feeling touched his spine as he was reminded of that fateful night". Are we writing this as if it was an actual "short story" that would get published or do you want us to oversimplify it for the sake of people that are learning the language? I know you said that you it's going to be simplified anyway after it gets submitted, but how would you prefer it to be submitted?
What's the level of content that would be inappropriate? Would the menton of blood in any way be too inappropriate here? Like I said, I write a lot of horror and sometimes I cross the line a bit so I want to really know what my limitations are.
"Overall, we want our stories to be approachable for younger and older audiences alike, so we want to avoid things like gratuitous violence or drug use."
Replace the "stabbed him 100 times with blood shooting out. of every vein" with "struck him 100 times with a rubber chicken, with a squeaky sound on every hit" and you should be fine xD.
Even though my last name is Story, I can't think of a story to submit to the contest.
However, a free little story I have right now is that Skippy (the big dog in my profile picture and in the video) is sick. I think he's diabetic. He's been like that since January.
This morning I said to Amber (the white dog), "Don't tease him. He's not feeling well." Then I said to her, "I always used to say to you, "Don't let him treat you like that". (because he always used to chew on her neck. In the video, it shows him chewing on her neck. Now it's come full circle and I'm telling her not to tease him and to be good to him because he's not feeling well. He can hardly walk now. He's thin and just lays all day.
Amber still wants to play but I told her she could play with cats, if she'd be nice to them. She and Skippy used to run around together, playing but now he can't play with her anymore. This morning she was teasing him, trying to get him to play with her, but I told her not to tease him and said to her, "Don't treat him like that. He's not feeling well." Before I always used to say to her, "Don't let him treat you like that." because he always used to chew on her neck.
I can't take him to the vet. His previous owner came a couple weeks ago. I told him that Skippy is diabetic now, but he said, "He looks healthy" and left.
I read on various websites that dandelions is helpful for diabetics and that dandelions contain insulin, besides all the vitamins, plus minerals. Today I mixed some chopped up dandelion leaves with food for him. He ate it.
He's very thin and getting weak. He can hardly bark. He is 10. He eats enough. He's thin because of the diabetes.
He's been like this since January. It's sad for me.
Here is a wee story
I hope that it is less than those 250 words
I am looking forward to all the lovely stories that will be told.
A story on the Royal Wedding would be brilliant to do
Tengo muchos examenes ahora, pero espero que puedo escriber una historia!
Hi, I've written the story with a text editor and submitted it but in the preview I've been sent to my email the formatting seems to have been ruined completely. All the enters are gone. I've added the names of the people speaking in the dialogues and split some parts of the text with enters, so it really matters styllistically. Without the enters, my story may be harder to read and seem much worse than in the original form. Does the reviewer see the original form (the one I see when I click "edit response" on the site and not the one I see in the preview on my email)? If not, is there any way I can submit the properly formatted version?
250 words at max? As an unpublished author that's an insultingly low maximum. I was thinking of submitting a story I wrote last year but it's closer to 900 words. That's still nothing so much I considered it a flash fiction. To be clear, I am asking if I can submit a comparatively ginormous story in alternatively.
From what they've stated in response to others, the word count is pretty strict. Authors write stories this small and even smaller all the time, so it can definitely be done. I know because I'm one of those authors. I and many others consistently write stories that are 100-300 words in length. I would recommend approaching this as a challenge. Perhaps try to write something new? You might find you like it! :)
Both Steph_Malpass and zanzaboonda, thank you for your responses. That was scarily quick. It's nice to see this community of people that want to educate themselves are so helpful and kind. "Well read people are less likely to be evil." - Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler. Still, I don't think I could ever write something that small. In school one year, we were told to write a short story and I said to myself, "How... ah. Ugh. Character development, plot. I need that." So I wrote a novel over the next 2 3/4 years. Anyway, thanks!
What if I were to write a story, and it were selected, but then refuse the reward?
oh gosh - I think it might be a problem.
I would suggest you should choose which one you want to really choose to submit.
It is highly likely that one of the checks they will do is if you have also submitted multiple stories, that both/all stories by you will be ruled out. This is what you are risking. If I was running this competition, this is what I would do.
So it might be that you need to choose which one you would like to be in the running, and go in and delete all but one story (or edit all but one to "delete the contents", if you are unable to delete a story you have submitted.)
Please be aware, I am not Staff, and I am not running this competition. However I do not see how they would permit anyone who has submitted more than one story to be in the running for a reward.
Wishing you all the best with your decision making, and also for the one story that you choose to remain as submitted ( I hope ).
That is exactly I was afraid of...
I sent a story but I didn't receive 'a copy of your responses' (When I click 'enter' it said I should receive one to the email I provided) so I thought my story wasn't accepted then I sent the same story again. Later I found out those receipt emails were sitting in my junk mail!
I tried to delete one but I wasn't able to... In my case both stories were the exactly same but it appears that I sent two stories, right?
I posted questions here or there but I don't get any clear advice.
Dear Lucimary6 and Steph_Malpass
This is my final statement about my entry. Awhile ago I sent two exactly same stories not knowing the copy of response was hidden in junk mail box. Then later I edited my story and also added a comment saying "this is the story I want to enter". The both story has the same title but the first one has 178 words and the edited version is 250 words. I wasn't able to discard or delete the first one because I had erased spam box and I no longer have access to the copy of response.
I'm sorry for such a trouble but if you find two of my stories, please ignore the first one and consider the latter entry. Thank yo very much!
Somebody else also posed that question and the answer was
We still don't know, but if we do it again, we will announce it with a forum post.
But to be honest, don't get your hopes up too much. It's most likely a lot of work to organize this competition plus it has some inherent risks (which will only get worse every iteration). Perhaps, they might do it once more simply because they've noticed how much people enjoyed it, but I very highly doubt that there would ever be a 3rd iteration (plz prove me wrong :P).
If you aren't following this discussion closely enough to know that the organizers of this competition have said several times that there will be a forum announcement once the winners have been chosen, you are likely to also miss a participant's announcement that they have won.
you would be surprised. i write original fiction, but i have always struggled with fan fiction. While I'm not saying you won't be able to do it because i know TONS of authors who are amazing at both, I'm just saying they are different animals and don't be surprised if it's harder than you thought.
So, you really need my real name. You are not going to see an ArpsTnd there.
So, for that burning question, how many could win here? I don't feel like my story fit for that "narrative arc" thing, it is like this one in the form of story (not in poetry), you see, a story that does not seem to have an arc at first, but it actually portray a story in flowery words. So, is my story possible? Or I should ask to remove that and I'll make another one.
And, on that burning question, how many could win?
I'm glad you addressed this. Many stories that I have written don't necessarily have concrete plots, but they are technically narratives. Only, they usually involve the inner thoughts of a primary character, or free indirect discourse; or they talk about a concept that has no real events happening in it (in that the setting doesn't change drastically). And, while there is an ending, it is not exactly "resolute". So, I can understand your pain through all of this. ^ ^
Someone could write a story that aligns with a specific skill, skills, or the whole course. Using only phrases taught in Duolingo.
I agree. I like when I come across words or phrases I haven't learned yet in stories. I have a notebook I've turned into my diy phrasebook where I write phrases & words I come across (with translations) I think might be helpful in the future. Way more have come from duo stories than the tree.
I understand your point. I still think it would be good to have some stories that reinforce your studies. It could be very helpful for beginners.
"Call" can also be used as a noun. If you hang out in academic contexts, you will often see the phrase "call for papers." (See https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/, https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/category/all, or http://icis2018.aisnet.org/?page_id=110 for examples).
You can try getting other resources from the internet; there are so many. Search for films, news (I found this http://www.radio24.ilsole24ore.com/programma/100-secondi?refresh_ce=1, whatever it is), fairy tales, short stories, language learning sites where you can converse with native speakers, etc. Good luck!
Sending you a very big welcome to Duolingo ! It is so good to see you here Viva990316 :D
You can read more about lingots by clicking here .
I would also like to mention, please do not go around asking other people to give you lintogs. I know you have not done this. However there have been some other people that I do see have.
This is considered quite a faux pas in the forums to do.
You might like to read:
What are some common forum mistakes aka faux pas that I can avoid?
Also Duolingo Wiki & FAQ (unofficial, but still amazing) has some great information that might also interest you.
Wishing you all the best with your langauge learning.
The Duolingo Stories seem to be just dialogue. Should we write the short story in a "script" format like that, or as a normal short story in paragraph form (with dialogue within)? Or is it fine to use either format?
Also, one more question: If I do write a script, would any descriptions of scene/action be counted towards the word limit, or only the dialogue? For example: "Noon, on the boardwalk. Duolingo walks up. Duolingo: I've finally found you!"
Anyway, this looks super fun!! Thanks for the opportunity, I look forward to writing!
Here's my story: The Vietnamese tutorial needs urgent attention from Administrators fluent in both Vietnamese and English, there are so many errors, but do not despair! Users of the app have provided some very helpful advice to assist you correct the errors. Some of the comments date back years. It would be REALLY GOOD if someone would have a look.
Bearing in mind, I am NOT staff here, I am a volunteer moderator.
However, if it was I was running this I would include articles as words that are part of the count.
However - if you do a dialogue story, then :
Hi! Only the dialogue will be counted (so "Sarah" and "Duo" wouldn't be part of the final word count).
Check out here
this sounds totally awesome but I might have seen this to late to put an entry in
NNOOOOOOOO You are NOT too late !
Please, do put in a story. Read the header (top) post. So that you also ensure you furfil the requirements.
There it says:
We’re holding an open call for new stories from May 11th until June 8th, 2018.
So you have until June 8th, 2018, Pittsburgh time. With things are important as this, I would strongly suggest that you should get it in the day before, rather than try to submit on the closing date. As sometimes things can go "weird" on the final day of the closing of a competition, and you can miss the deadline due to a technical problem you might have.
And I think that there is unlkely to be given leeway if this is the case.
So it is better to submit early, and so if you have a technical problem with submitting , you will have time to reach out for support to resolve the issue.
Wishing you the best of luck, and may the art of the Pan be in your writting.
Hi! Our current stories are either "radio play" (mainly dialogue) or "prose" stories (mainly narration). Dialogue is not a requirement. In terms of formatting, it's whatever works best for your story. If your story is strictly dialogue, formatting it as a script will make it easier for our team to read.
I finished my story on June 7th at 11:35 PM in Texas only to learn that at that moment it was June 8th 12:35 AM in Pittsburgh. I'm thus very grateful to have found this discussion thread and to know from it that my story will still be considered. Wishing you the best too, JoanneL6!
My submitted story’s title is a pun that most likely couldn’t be properly or effectively translated into other languages while keeping the meaning intact; when Duolingo reserves the right to modify a story does that include the title?
(I submitted it June 8th at 5:06pm EST, same as Pittsburgh time.)
I am a little confused with this competition I mean I submitted my story a month ago and nothing has happened will I receive an email saying if I lost or won? Or will I have to just guess that since I didn't receive anything that I didn't win? I would like it very much if someone responded to me. Thx.
Hi Ruthie-K! If you scroll through the comments (or subscribe to the comments, which I personally find to be infinitely easier), they've responded to others with the same question. It's taking a little longer than they initially anticipated, but we should hear sometime this month. :)
I co-run a flash fiction contest and have been involved with them for a few years now, and I can tell you that judging is so much more difficult than one might think, especially when it involves coming to a consensus and fitting specific needs. I can assure you that they haven't forgotten about us. :)
To my knowledge, there is no way to subscribe to a topic, tag, or key word. Unless someone comments on this post about any possible future contest (hopefully someone remembers to do so), the only way to really know is to check the forums periodically. The timeframe on this one was fairly generous.
Hi, I was wondering if Duolingo stories would be available to use and add as an activity in my Duolingo classroom? I am teaching an intermediate Portuguese class and would really like to be able to incorporate Duolingo stories in the class is there a way to do this? I know it is in beta, but I am willing to try it out with my class. Thanks!
If you are signed up for the Portuguese class, you may see "Stories" in the list of headers across the top of your screen, when you are in the Portuguese course. If not, stories can probably still be found under "Labs."
If you are not signed up for Portuguese, but hoping to use Duolingo resources to teach Portuguese, I strongly suggest adding Portuguese to your account, so you can check out those resources.
Just discovered the Stories feature and I love it - great way to learn, and I'm hooked! Question: are you still looking for submissions in 2019 (ie now)? I am a writer who loves creating stories, and I'd love to create some for Duolingo!! (OK...the financial reward would be a great bonus, but I'd be interested anyway...)
kann man jetzt auch noch Stories amgeben? Ich habe den Artikel erst jetzt gelesen, habe allerdings einige Ideen.
can you now also enter stories? I've only read the article now, but I have some ideas.
As a professional actor who hangs with a lot of writers, I am loving these Duolingo stories! They are fun, funny, engaging, hilarious. The characters are well drawn and the storylines inventive and imaginative. The voiceover artists handle the dialogue well in both of the languages I am studying, and the child actor is very professional and believable. Thank you for these enriching opportunities to learn vocabulary, I truly appreciate all of the effort involved and am having a wonderful time!