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Figment lets young writers share and critique work

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(Read caption) Figment allows users to post their own original writing and seek comments from others.

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You’re a teenager writing a novella or poem. You dot that last "i," cross the final "t" – and then what?

Some middle and high schools have creative writing classes, but not all of them. And as any writer knows, feedback is key to improving a manuscript.

So writer Dana Goodyear and Jeff Lewis, managing editor of former business magazine Portfolio, founded Figment, a writing site for teens and young adults to post their writing and receive feedback. Created in December 2010, it’s been skyrocketing in popularity, with more than 200,000 users currently registered.  Last December, the site published its first print book, titled “Dream School” by Blake Nelson.

“Young writers want a place to experiment, to take a risk and get a response," Goodyear told the Los Angeles Times. “To have that daring feeling of putting themselves out there.”

Most users are between 13 and 17, according to site data, but some skew a little older. Users can form groups on the website, and some are apparently created at the behest of teachers for a class, with titles like “Mrs. Klopp’s Second Period Poets.” Other groups have specific interests, like one created for those who want to participate in an online role-playing wolf game.

There are also contests on the site. One, for instance, asks users to write a chapter (based on the book “Grave Mercy” by Robin LaFevers) about a character who is lying about his or her identity. And of course there are forums which are divided into sections like “Fanfiction,” “Writing scraps” (for works which have a plot but no characters), and “Full-length stories.” Other forums aren’t strictly about writing but more for general discussion, like “From Gaga to Godfather,” which encourages users to talk about pop culture. And then there's also an aptly named “General/random” forum.

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

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