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.
 
July 2014 Competition

Your July theme is Mistaken Identity. Who is mistaken and what are the consequences? Write a story in 154 characters or less, precede it with the word STORY and a space and text it to 82085

August 2014 Competition

We'll reveal the competition theme for August at the end of July. Come back to find out what it will be and to see the results for June. In the meantime, get writing your entries for July.

 

 

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Competition Results

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



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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.



June Competition: Theme - Twisted Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

This is twisted! How could his first breath also be his last? His mother's pleading eyes met mine. I made the cut! His neck finally free from the cord.


Emma Hodges wins our June competition with this entry, the theme for which was 'Twisted'. 35 year old Emma Emma Hodges lives with her husband and two daughters aged 4 and 2 in West Malling, Kent. She works in Financial Services but confesses that her passion has always been writing which is why she is studying part time for an English Literature degree with the Open University. Emma says she doesn't get to write as much as she would like but finds that the Txtlit competitions are a great way to fit writing into a busy life. She hopes one day to have more time to write and even manage to forge a career out of it and tells us that winning the Txtlit competition has definitely spurred her on


Our twisted theme produced quite a narrow range of story plots with a large proportion relating to a warped or twisted mind. We also had few entries that made the connection to the theme through the game of Twister; whilst amusing we felt these were never really fully developed ideas. Our winning entry from Emma Hodges on the other hand is an excellent example of a well written Txtlit story. The opening sentence bluntly and immediately introduces tension. Though an exclamation rather than a question we want to learn more. What is twisted? The second sentence piles on more tension. First breath? This must be a newborn; and his last breath too? So, it' this cruel situation that is twisted. As we read on, the mother is introduced confirming some of our understanding, but no words are exchanged. Just a pleading look. "I made the cut!" What? even more tension. It's becoming unbearable... and then the reveal and we understand. A complication during childbirth that so nearly ends in tragedy, safely averted. All this, fully written and punctuated with characters to spare. Great work.

 

Other Shortlisted Entries:


Sirens alerted Billy and he drove away. He smiled, watching smoke rise in his rear-view mirror. His wife and daughter were now at peace.

By Danielle Allen   


I twisted and turned the door knob but it was no use. The door was locked from the outside. I turned and looked back at the fire that would engulf me.

By Sabah Babu  


Rustling leaves, my prey is close, my trap closer. Gun raised, I move left. Snap, crunch, agony. My gun falls, the bear emerges. Hunter, now the hunted.

By Robbie Orr  


 

 
May Competition: Theme - Buried Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Sparkling eyes stare at me. I'm hypnotised. She's seeing a school and loving ghosts. I let her stay buried in childhood as I cradle her wrinkled hand.


This entry from Tessa Eydman wins our May competition, the theme for which was "Buried". tessa eydmannLondoner Tessa works as a communications officer. A role she finds challenging although she feels lucky to be writing for a living. After some busy years, Tessa explains that her fiction took a back step, but, as she admits, she finds writing exciting and it it keeps her sane. Txtlit was her first step back into writing. She tells us that she has always enjoyed the stories and is fascinated how writers can squeeze a whole slice of life into just a few words. Tessa has even spent more time on one Txtlit story than she has on a two page article. Txtlit has also given Tessa another great bonus. She's been published in erotic magazines in the past, so has always used a pen name for the sake of her day job! This is the first time in years that she's been able to sign her fiction with her own name. 


We had a very positive reponse for this competition. There was clearly something about the theme of buried that inspired you all to write an entry. After nearly seven years of Txtlit we still sometimes can't explain what competition themes will promote a good response. Many of you looked for different ways to use the theme in your story. We had quite a few entries where someone had been buried alive, and like Tessa's entry we had a number of entries where the burying was more abstract. Tessa's story really managed to draw us in. We feel engaged from the outset; each sentence gives a little more away but intrigues us further at the same time. The final few words reveal that we are with an old woman lost in memories, and although it's not a plot twist like some stories we have had, there is an "Aha!" moment when we realise what is going on and everything makes sense. Uncomplicated bur effective.

 

Other Shortlisted Entries:


My past is buried in layers of deceit and denial; brutally pressing on my putrid soul. I remember the trains, chambers and incinerators. Victims haunt me.

By Mark A. King   


Angela smiled cruelly. She'd told her ex-husband Graham that she wanted to bury the hatchet and she had. Right in his back!

By Chad Elliot  


It took ages last time but I'd found an air pipe in the dark. He said next time he wouldn't be back for me. I've felt every inch now and there is no pipe.

By Teresa Elwell  


Her eyes shut before the story ended. 'Goodnight', I whisper as I kiss her forehead. In a sea of black, the tears flow. Silence falls. The coffin lowers.

By Emma Hodges


 

 
April Competition: Theme - America Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

It happened in the diner. By the time I saw the knife it was too late. Thick red liquid oozed out. I felt sick.  I'd said apple pie,  not cherry!


Congratulations to Rachel Smeeth who wins the April Txtlit competition. Rachel tells us that Rachel Smeeth she's always had a passion for comedy.  In her 20’s she spent a couple of years moonlighting as a stand-up comedian on the London circuit, which is where she learned how to be extremely economical with her words.  Now, at 43, she admits to not missing traipsing around from one smokey pub to another, bue she deso miss the kick she used to get out of writing stuff that makes people happy.  Since having children Rachel has kept her creative juices flowing by always having a project on the go: whether it’s writing scripts and sketches, or working on ideas for children’s books. She goes on to say hw she really enjoyed the challenge of putting her story together for the Txtlit competition and was thrilled when to have won. 


The theme of America certainly seemed to get your creativity revved up and gave us lots of originality in your stories to consider. We finally went with this somewhat light-hearted entry from Rachel Smeeth because, despite the obviously humorous side, it manages to encapsulate so much of America whilst still giving us a fully developed story that includes tension, keeps us engaged and finishes with a lovely twist. The opening sentence sets the scene. We know something has happened and we can imagine being in a diner because we've all seen one on TV or we've actually been in one. Things so often happen in diners don't they. A knife is introduced, and a sense of urgency; "it was too late". Yes, a knife, in the diner. All perfect cliché to draw us in. And thick red liquid oozing... someone has been stabbed and it's made me feel ill. But no! We're treated to a delightful twist. We've been served the wrong pie! Either apple or cherry, so clearly American. We hope you'll excuse the Americanism but, nice job!

 

Other Shortlisted Entries:


The child stood quivering as the teacher yelled "You WILL do this! Sing it again!" A shaky voice replied "The land of the free and the home of the brave".

By Paul Gledhill   


My house is gone. My wife, my children, lost in the war against Vegas. My last dollar sits cold in my right palm. Red or black? Today's my lucky day...

By Robbie Orr  


She looked through the airplane window and there it was: America. With its glittering lights and endless highways. And she was leaving it all behind.

By Georgina Miller  



 

 
March Competition: Theme - "That's the Ticket!" Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Her grin lights up the world with every wavering step, hands hovering over the rails. She reaches for his but he steps back. 'That's the ticket,' he says.


March's competition winner is Meg Massey from London. Meg is very excited to have won theMeg Massey competition having only been entering since discovering Txtlit in December, and she is finds it quite addictive. She admits to usually being a rambler in her writing and so finds the competitions a huge challenge, although an excellent exercise in creating great imagery as well as being precise and to the point. Meg tells us that one thing that stands out for her about all the winning entries on the website is the immediate visual image of a situation that they create. It may not be a long moment, but it's a moment that gives the reader all they need to know. Meg has been writing for years but is as yet unpublished, however she is determined to ultimately make it her career. She lives a very busy life in London, and usually write in quite a cynical voice but explains that thankfully, for the Txtlit competition, she I managed to conjure up something resembling positivity.


We received a relatively low number of entries for our March competition. Admittedly, the theme of "That's the Ticket!" was a little unusual, but it meant a better chance of winning for those who made the effort.  We expected to provoke some interesting stories and it certainly seemed as though a great deal of thought had gone into the content of many of your entries. Although we presented the theme of "That's the Ticket!" as a catchphrase, it didn't necessarily have to be used in that way, and from your entries we could see that was understood.  Meg Massey's winning entry did use the theme in it's catchphrase form, although it didn't score any more highly because of this; we simply liked her story the best. Her story is difficult to fully comprehend in just one reading. Something must be good as our main character has a huge grin and we eventually work out that she is obviously learning to walk again, after an accident perhaps. Or maybe it's for the first time and she has never been able to walk before. She takes tentative steps and we are invited to imagine her letting go of her supporting rails and reaching for the hands of someone who is teaching or rehabilitating her. The theme, "That's the Ticket!" are his words of encouragement as she succeeds in what must be a momentous occasion. 

 

Other Shortlisted Entries:


The flat glistened with foil. She caught him crying into his final wrapper, and  knew he'd blown his wages on Wonka bars.

By Elaine Marie McKay  


She lay there, waiting for the darkness to consume her; she lay there, waiting for this hell to end. Death was her one saviour. Death was her only escape.

By Flora Hodson 


Hearing the results, she embraced him. "we're rich", she trilled! She mistook his silence for joy. Trembling, he felt for the money...still in his pocket!

By Alison Nuorto 



 

 
February 2014 Competition: Theme - Smile Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I'm glad her phone rang as we lowered you. You'd have liked it: you always were irreverent. I'm glad I wore a black veil. Or they'd have seen my smile.


Emily Lomax from Petersfield in Hampshire wins our February competition with this entry. Emily Lomax Emily is just 17 years old and is currently studying English literature, history, classics and art at sixth form college. She tells us that she loves writing in her spare (or often not spare) time and always has done, right from the 'Muriel the Mermaid' book that she co-wrote and illustrated with her dad when she was 5. We're sure you'll agree her more recent work is a little more sophisticated.


For the February competition, we set you the theme 'Smile'. We had a good range of story lines and it was interesting to see how the theme was used. For the majority of you it wasn't the main thread of the story but more of a trigger to tell your tale. All within the rules of course as the connections to the theme were quite clearly there. We decided on Emily's story as the winner because it tells a story beyond the words and is very well constructed. On the first reading, we are left a little confused by the opening sentence. Why would we be lowering anybody and what could that have to do with a phone ringing and who's phone is it? Of course we are led to deduce later in the story that we are at a funeral and it is the narrator's dead husband who is being lowered into his grave. We can all imagine the embarrassment if our own mobile phones were to ring at such a critical moment on so sombre an occasion; but through this we learn about the sort of person the deceased man was and what sort of relationship was held between him and his wife. We liked the repetition of "I'm glad" which cleverly balances the story and gives it a tempo. The final sentence, which connects to the theme, tells us that despite the sad occasion, many happy memories linger. Quite moving.

 

Other Shortlisted Entries:


They had spent a wonderful night together. She couldn't help but smile at him across the room; as he danced with her best friend ..... his wife.

By Sabah Babu  


There I stood. I was ready to jump; ready to end my life. I turned my face to take one last look at life. There she stood, smiling. That smile saved me.

By Flora Hodson 


He would only meet her at night, but the dark handsome man was so charming she couldn't resist. It wasn't until he smiled that she finally saw the danger.

By Chad Elliot 



 

 
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