txtlit.co.uk - The UK's Easiest to Enter Writing Competitions

Example Story
Smash, grab. The hooded thief ran towards the busy high street where he would melt into the crowd. In his haste he didn’t look before crossing. Hit, run.
November 2015 Competition

For November your competition theme is Fish. Write a story to this theme in just 154 characters which should be preceded by the word STORY and a space and then text to 82085. Cost £1+ 1 network text.

December 2015 Competition

Your December competition theme will be announced at the end of November. Make sure you come back to see what it will be and to find out who has won October's competition.

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Competition Results

Results are published Below. Make sure you check back regularly to get the latest competiton news and themes.

If you run your own website or blog, a link to the website will help our search engine ranking too. Links from websites such as the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newtalent/opportunities/) are helping our rankings. We're currently on page 2 of Google for the search phrase "UK writing competitions" but more links to us from other sites will help us to rank higher, which will mean more visits to the website and so more competition entries, and therefor greater prize money.

Remember, whilst the act of entring the competitions is easy, writing a compelling story in just 154 characters takes some doing, but it's excellent writing practice and makes for good disciplined writing.

All competitions cost £1 per entry plus the cost of a standard text message from your mobile phone service provider.

October Competition: Theme - The Discovery Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

'Hey Butterfly, U make my heart flutter. Ur Bunny 4 ever x'. Over and over, she inked the words on her lying, cheating, husband's face.

For October your Txtlit theme was "The Discovery" and was won by this entry by Lynne Thomas from CardiffLynne Thomas. Lynne works as a community engagement project manager and writes sci-fi books for young people in her spare time, which is usually whilst traveling on trains or in planes. She finds that there is something about travel that makes her fingers twitch to hold a pen.  Lynne loves to trying her hand at competition writing now and again and has made a few shortlists and, other than this Txtlit story, has achieved one first place with a short story based on a clown stealing children away with a magic violin (Creepy!).  Lynne certainly seems to have an element of the dark side about her.

We had a relatively low number of entries for our October's competition, but the level of entries was outstanding and we'll take quality over quantity any time. Well done to everyone who entered for such an overall high standard of story writing. We know that we make a big issue about using proper English and of not using "text style" abbreviations in your Txtlit entries. The only exception being where it is an intrinsic element of the story. That is exactly what Lynne Thomas has done here with her entry; leading us to publish the first Txtlit story to contain such writing in the eight years we have been running. We very nearly switched off immediately when we started reading Lynne's story but it soon unfolded what was actually going on. Clearly the discovery in the story was the exchange of text messages the protagonist had found on her husband's mobile phone. Now in her rage she re-writes the same words on her husbands face. We must assume that to enable this action he is at least unconscious and most likely dead; and most likely by her hand. We really get a feel for her anger with the adjectives "lying, cheating", and although enough characters remain for a third adjective, it isn't needed. The rhythm of the sentence is perfect and we can almost feel the words being etched into skin. This is a great example of how so few words can tell us so much, and a brave use of texting language that fulfils multiple tasks within the story. 


Other shortlisted entries:


Everyday I suffer this desperate searching. It should get easier as the days pass but my wife constantly adds to my chaos. At last, a matching pair.

By Ian Johnston 


'Who is it?' Mum called from the kitchen. The words fell from my mouth. 'She says she's my mother.' My heart sank at the silence that followed.

By Danielle Allen

They had been trudging for days - frozen and exhausted. The bothy loomed out of the darkness. Safety! But as they collapsed inside, they saw the bodies.

By Patricia Cooney 





September 2015 Competition: Theme - Ghost Story Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I clung to him as a continuous beep sounded from the machine. My body lay pale and still - he couldn't see me at his side - I was gone to him;  I wept.

We asked you to write a Ghost Story for the September competition and it was won with this entry from Patricia Cooney Patricia Cooney from East Kilbride near Glasgow. Teacher Patricia dabbles in poetry and creative writing in her spare time and has had a poem published in an anthology several years ago. This is the first time she has ever won anything however and she is thrilled. Useful for a ghost story.

A Ghost Story is a trusty genre that we like to throw in every now and again as your competition theme. Because, to a certain degree, we have an idea of what is coming, it's important to include a mechanism to grab our attention. Patricia Cooney manages this with a good plot twist that arrives half way through the story which then changes the perspective for the remainder. As it's a ghost story we know that death is likely to feature so we can immediately make sense of the continuous beep sound emanating from the machine signalling that someone has died and their heart has stopped. Use of the first person to tell the story is a clever tool that comes into its own as the twist is introduced. It is the story teller's body that lies still and so it is she that has passed away. The ghost element becomes apparent now as she has been clinging to him in her ghostly state, but alas, he is unaware of this. As the story closes we are feel desperation for the protagonist, now a ghost, who weeps; but is she weeping for her loss or for the loss of the person left behind? A tinge of inconclusiveness that adds to the ghostly air. 


Other shortlisted entries:


I watch the doctors and nurses hover desperately around the bed, talking in hushed whispers but she sees me and I know that she'll be on my side soon.

By Jeffrey Rowlands 


I hold her hand tightly, through the dark forest. I pull her into the town, towards the blue light. Inside the station, I melt away, to let her confess.

By Saskia
And this one made us give out a ghost-like groan...

Her blood ran cold. She froze. Not again! The writing on the wall. Sentence after sentence scrawling across the brickwork. The ghost writer was back...

By Valerie Griffin 





August Competition: Theme - The Queue Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

'Why couldn't you just hang on?' she sobbed. Medics rushed past with her son's new heart, as her tears fell on his still-warm body.'

"The Queue" was your competition theme for August and Danielle Allen takes the winning prize with this entry.  Danielle Allen Self confessed crazy cat lady Danielle, is 28 years old and from Walker in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has just started a foundation degree at Newcastle College in Digital Design to keep her creativly active while she works on her writing.  Danielle has been writing for nine years and has been published by Reader's Digest and on wordriot.org with a horror story in the upcoming Writer's Anarchy IV anthology due mid October. Danielle tells us she loves writing Txtlit entries because she loves the challenge of fitting a story into such a short space.

We knew that the theme of The Queue for the August competition was a prescriptive one, but it did little to restrict the range of stories that we received. There was a wide variation in what your story characters were queueing for as well as story construction and interpretation; all of which gave us a tough time during judging. We finally decided on Danielle Allen's entry because we liked the simplicity of construction coupled with the originality of her interpretation of the theme whilst remembering to tell us a story. We are dropped into a situation where something bad has clearly already happened. When we realise that the speaking character is crying we can deduce that whoever is being spoken to has actually died. We are just left to discover why. This information is neatly delivered when what should have been his new heart arrives and it is clear that it is too late, but only just. We also learn the relationship between the characters and of course the link to the theme. A good example of coherently cramming lots of information into a single sentence.


Other shortlisted entries:


I shuffle in my sleeping bag. I accept soup from a do-gooder. This is my doorway. I smell but when the shop opens I will be first to get the new iPad.

By Saskia 


'Move.' Aaron stumbled into the man in front. Glimpsing his father's watch on the soldier's wrist, he gasped. 'Everyone ready for the showers!'

Also by Danielle Allen
And a little black humour...

I join the shaky line. Often I hear the crowd shout, a lion roar or a cry of pain. But I stand smuggly, still one up on them; I'm not really a Christian!

By Paul Gledhill 





July Competition: Theme - Out of Control Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The immigration kookaburra pecks at the new arrivals: "You do realise non-native species are not permitted to breed?" Smiling, Mr and Mrs Bunny nod.

Remarkably, July's competition was won by our June winner, Saskia. Artist Saskia has had literary success Saskia with the Ted Hughes festival, London's Poetry Cafe, Warwick Words, the NZ Poetry Society, the BBC et al. Her artwork and performances include huge installations and tiny illustrations.
Saskia tells us when she wins her Oscar/Booker/Turner Prize she will thank Txtlit and Bell Writers for their ongoing inspiration. "

Well that's a first! Whilst we have had writers win more than one competition in the past we have never had a back to back winner before so congratulations to Saskia for that. The way the Txtlit system works means that we only have a mobile phone number by which to identify entrants. So it is not until the winner and runners up have been selected and entered onto our database that we can see if an entrant has won before. Clearly this makes for a very fair judging process. We liked Saskia's entry this time because of the way ir really turned the theme on it's head. An immigration kookaburra is quite a fantastical character but it gives us a location for our story and as he is working in immigration we immediately understand the scene. What the kookaburra says seems a million miles away from the theme of 'out of control' and at this stage we are struggling to make the link. Then we realise he is talking to a couple of rabbits. Simply by saying that they are smiling as they nod tells us they are insincere in there message. And of course we all know that without predators, the rabbit population in Australia is indeed out of control. Neatly done.


Other shortlisted entries:

He's out again with his mates; joshing, singing, flirting with girls. I'm in bed, awake, on his return. He snuggles up to steal my warmth, starts to purr.

By Nicola Murphy 


He veered into the passers- by scattering them like skittles. A boy about six took the full force of the impact. "No more skating  dad" he frowned.

By Julie Fielding


I knew the end was near. I'd lost control; eyes streaming, head spinning, mouth screaming as I careened about the room. Then THE VOICE: "I said bed. NOW!"

By Judgement Dave

My baby had her test this morning. The 'phone rings, and my heart stops as I answer it. "Did she pass?" I whisper. "Yes sir, your car passed its M.O.T."

By Ms. Jay-Marie Nair 





June Competition: Theme - The Test Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I gulp fresh air after foul river, dazzled by blue sky. A miracle. Joy leaps in my heart but then I see their hard faces. They will burn me now.

June's Txtlit competition is won with this entry by Saskia, a UK baser artist  who works with visuals Saskiaperformance and words, as well as with children and animals. She tells us that she likes dancing all night in underground castles and picnicking in Summer meadows. Saskia describes herself as a private individual.  She hasaid published a poem which paradoxically describes how she would rather eat tiramasu and groom a horse than talk any more about herself. For her Txtlit entries, she likes stripping her ideas to the bone and seeing if they still hold. 

Yes! We did it again. We gave you a competition theme that clearly got the creative juices flowing and inspired some excellent and diverse stories. As we read down the list of entries each month we can usually tell after the first few what the general standard of stories is and this month were very happy indeed. We finally went with this entry for its classic Txtlit construction.  We are immediately thrown into the action and realise our main character is surfacing from an uncomfortable experience in water as she "gulps" for air. Dazzled by blue sky we feel a sense of relief and she herself feels it is a miracle, presumably because she is alive. Full of joy from what we now understand is an escape from death through drowning, the twist is applied. The hard faces that surround her show all is not as it appears. The final blow comes as we realise she has been accused of being a witch and the test that was being applied was to see if she floated. As she clearly didn't and narrowly escaped drowning her guilt is assured and now she will be burned. This is a really imaginative interpretation of the theme. Nice.


Other shortlisted entries:

The needle hovers above the vein. I have to inject but I can't. I shake. The consultant snaps "you'll never make it as a doctor if you can't take blood"

By Jeffrey Rowlands


I am alone in a car with a man I only met an hour ago.  "Your first time?" he asks, putting out his hand.  I nod nervously. "Well done, you've passed."

By Rosemary Lewis from Lichfield


It should be the easiest test in the world, only one question. How many times will I have to retake it? My heart sinks. I've failed again. Not pregnant."

By Anna Logan

My baby had her test this morning. The 'phone rings, and my heart stops as I answer it. "Did she pass?" I whisper. "Yes sir, your car passed its M.O.T."

By Ms. Jay-Marie Nair 





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