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

Example Story
She denied stealing the shoes, though witnesses had seen her attempt to secrete the red, shiny stilettos. A victim of fashion, the evidence was patent.
 
August 2014 Competition

"The Other Side" is your theme for August. Write a story about the other side of whatever you want in 154 characters or less, precede it with the word STORY and a space and text it to 82085

September 2014 Competition

September's theme will be posted at the end of August. Come back to find out what it will be and to see the results for July. In the meantime, get your August competition entries in.

 

 

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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.



March 2013 Competition: Theme - The Fight Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

She fought for togetherness, tirelessly proving her worth, with the fuel of love. Finally her prize emerged: the joy of Motherhood. The adoption battle.



Congratulations to Rebecca Stead from West Yorkshire who wins the March 2013 Txtlit competition Rebecca Steadwith this entry. The theme for the March competition was "The Fight". 19 year old Rebecca is currently studying English and Linguistics at The University of Leeds. She enjoys both reading and writing fiction, with the Txtlit competition being one of the first writing competitions she has entered (and won!). The short nature of flash fiction appealed to Rebecca as it didn't seem too overwhelming at first, however she soon realised the challenge of trying to write in an interesting and concise manner. Ulitimately, Rebecca would like to write fiction books for young people and teenagers, tackling real life issues; the first of which she is currently planning.

 

We were a little disappointed with the relatively low number of entries we received for the March competition. Perhaps the theme of "The Fight" was a little too prescriptive, but it's the tougher competition themes that give you the greatest opportunity to win as there are less entries to compete with. Rebecca Stead's entry was a great interpretation of the theme, telling the story of an individual's fight to become a mother. This can be a battle at the best of times, but Rebecca throws us the added twist that the protagonist is seeking motherhood through adoption. Rebecca has used some wonderful phrases in her story; soundbites almost, that manage to capture the optimism that our character must have. "Fighting for togetherness", "fuelled by love", we can really feel the emotion, and then finally she wins her prize giving us the added bonus of a happy ending.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


Off balance at the point of no return in a manic arm flailing pirouette; a panicked twist, a lurch, one final heave; skates back on ice. Avoided the fall!

By Michaela Barry
   


Starving fox saved by a meal of shrew, found strangled by the cold's cruel grip. Winter's bite is sometimes kind - an unlikely ally in the fight for life.

By Alexander Milne
   

 

One more breath, just one breath left. A deep sigh with a smile. The fight was over. The pain was now gone.

By Tobias Nicholls

  

 



 

 
February 2013 Competition: Theme - Water Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

They  continue their pitiful search of my salty depths by the shore. I won't give back my hard won prize. They should never have left me for dry land.



Jeff Rowlands from Cardiff wins the February 2013 Txtlit competition, themed "Water", with this entry. Jeff RowlandsJeff admits to being both shocked and delighted at winning. He has been writing on and off for a couple of years but this is his first competition win, having previously been a runner up almost two years ago in our April 2011 competition.  Jeff hopes that the win will encourage him to be more disciplined in his writing which so far has concentrated on flash fiction and short stories,  but he hopes to expand to other writing genres eventually.

 

The relatively loose theme of "water" for the February competition gave you plenty of scope for your stories, and we were pleased to see that many of you tried to be as creative as possible. A good number of you showed real promise in your ideas but your stories didn't quite have the construction to give them that dramatic edge or twist that makes a good Txtlit story so compelling.

 

In his winning entry, Jeff Rowlands chooses the Sea as his link to the theme of water. We know this through his description, even though he never actually uses the word. We particularly liked the way he personifies the sea, effectively making it the protagonist of his story and going as far as writing as the sea in the first person. Initially we feel an air of melancholy, or even evil as the sea almost mocks the 'pitiful' search for what we conclude to be a person lost beneath the waves in the 'salty depths'. This turns to a kind of justification in that the lost soul was the spoils of some kind of battle or conflict with dry land. Eerily, the story is tinged with an element of sadness and perhaps loneliness; almost a "That's what you deserve for leaving me!"A great concept.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


It was the water that killed me, not the heat. Parched rasp of the desert wind, drier than the sand itself, 'He killed me for a drink of water...'

By Stacey Murray   


Golden beams turned kaleidoscopic beneath cresting waves as he drifted from clear to inky blue; truthfully, things had gotten easier after he breathed in.

By Abla Seckley  

 

The water was warm on his toes, the smell of chemicals in the air. "Thirty two years," he whispered. "Got to learn sometime." He stepped into the pool.

By Matt Beames 

  

 



 

 
January 2013 Competition: Theme - The Debt Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

"My parents sold me," she replied flatly. I turned, got dressed and dropped her pay onto the bed. Mumbling a feeble thanks, I left. I never called again.



The Debt was the theme for our January 2013 competition, which was won with this entry by Jonathan ParrenoJonathan Parreno from Purley in Surrey. 23 year old Jonathan, a 2nd year undergraduate studying English Literature at Kings College London, tells us the he loves writing, particularly poetry. He is also the editor of a small magazine for his student hall. He entered the competition because he wanted to develop his prose style, and to learn how to be more efficient when writing. Jonathan notes that with such a tiny space to craft a story it really forced him to focus on what was being left unwritten as opposed to the words he actually wrote. (Something we discuss a lot with Txtlit competition entries) The subjects of Jonathan's prose writing tend to be the invisible elements of society and the hidden stories that shed light on how they managed to end up in such circumstances. Deep!

 

With the limited space that a Txtlit story affords, it's acceptable and arguably unavoidable, that some assumptions will have to be made. Notwithstanding, any such assumptions still need to be justifiable. In this story, we have to make the assumption that the protagonist has asked a question about how the speaker or speaker's family repaid a debt. By opening with dialogue and telling us that it is in reply, the author has effectively asked the question without wasting any precious character count. After the opening sentence, the remainder of the story is all about the consequences and effect that asking the question and receiving that answer has on the main character. It's probable that a feeling of shame is prevalent amongst men who use prostitutes, but after discovering how his 'service provider' has ended up in the situation she is in, the author does a great job of demonstrating just how ashamed the main character now feels. We can feel that there is no further eye contact, and any further communication is restricted to a mumble. You can visualise the protagonist’s head, bowed low. There's no twist or surprise here and the construction is another variation on how to write a captivating story in 154 characters or less.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


"Red. Sorry, sir." The desperate addict slumps again. "Always," he spits, "the casino always wins." A tear touches the canvas; it's time to tell the wife.

By Jack Roberts   


The stake was rough and heavy in her hand. "I can't," she said. "You must," he told her, his voice soft as night. "I let you live. Now please let me die."

By Matt Beames 

 

Certainly there was a score to settle-after all, she had stolen my husband! The question is though, how could i ever repay such a huge favour?

By Aileen Shirra from Cumbernauld 

  

 



 

 
December 2012 Competition: Theme - Finally Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Now he was dead and buried the truth had come out at last. There were hundreds others like her, all haunted by the memories. Finally they were believed.



Well done to Val Fish from Peterborough who wins our December competition with this entry. The theme for val fishDecember was "Finally". You may have seen Val's name before as she has been a runner up on several occaision but this is her first win. Val tells us that she finds creative writing very therapeutic and loves to write witty limericks,  hich are now and again published in the Daily Mail, along with her One Liners and Wordywise submissions. There is no financial reward for any of these and Val does it for pleasure and not for profit. She says it will be a pleasant change to receive a winning cheque. Val relishes the challenge of the Txtlit competitions and of fitting a story into such a short word limit. She uses her time sitting on the bus or train to construct and edit, and re-edit and re-edit until she is at last  satisfied with her effort. Well, Val it's paid off. You've 'finally' won!

 

We never really know what to expect when we set a competition theme. We may think we are steering entries towards a particular story style or type but because everyone's interpretation will potentially be different there are always a few surprises. With the theme set as 'Finally' the range of entries was very diverse but we still didn't really get anything like we expected. That's not a bad thing. In fact it's very refreshing. What we liked about Val Fish's story was the deep seated message. We can see the influence of recent revelations in Val's story but what she manages to hit on so well is the relief that the protaganist feels because others had come forward and now she is believed. We could really feel the frustration that someone might feel if there claims of what might be a very serious nature are dismissed as untruths. The use of the word 'finally' in the last sentence is perfectly placed and very powerful. Good work.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


It had been a long wait but it was finally happening. My heart skips a beat as he presses his cool lips to mine. "I now pronounce you husband and wife".

By Jade Ford   


Four mean, bloated, painful days late, her bloody monthly finally arrived and he had to stop bleating about his happy future family. Never. Gonna. Happen.

By  Claire Phillips

 

"No," she gasped finally.  Her eyes widened; fingers uncurled.  The pen rolled to the floor.  Their inheritance slipped away.

By Anthony Doolan from Chesterfield 

  

 



 

 
November Competition: Theme - The Sea Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The distant storm still rumbles, but now the ocean is a black mirror reflecting the rising flare. On the horizon, a floating shadow, and with it hope.



Congratulations to Rob Martin for winning the November's Txtlit compeition for which the theme was 'The Sea'. Rob MartinForty year old Rob lives in Plymouth with his wife, son and step daughter and works in the artwork department for a local printing company. He has written for pleasure on and off for ten years, but is now working on a children's novel for which he has received some very encouraging feedback from a writing tutor. Rob admits to being a terrible procrastinator so is hoping for the motivation to get his novel finished. He loves reading and makes sure that every novel he reads is a different genre to the previous one. He lists The Great Gatsby, The Day of the Triffids and Cloud Atlas amongst his favourite titles. He goes on to tell us that when he makes his fortune he wants to build a castle on an island.

 

We had a very high standard of entry for the November competition and there were some very good entries that tried to stretch what was a fairly prescriptive theme. The winning entry from Rob Martin was a clear winner. This story is not just a perfect example of how to write a Txtlit story but is a lesson in writing for any writer. Look at how much we are told in just 150 characters. We have just experienced a storm that continues in the distance. We are in or near darkness and have just sent up a distress flare. Clearly we are adrift, probably in a life raft having lost our vessel to the storm. Distraught, we see the silhouette of a ship on the horizon that we hope will save us. Add to this detail an excellent story construction, clever use of language and a perfect tempo. Well done Rob, we absolutely loved this one!


Other Shortlisted Entries:


Awestruck the tribe gazed at the endless sea which had swallowed their hunting grounds now they were trapped by what would one day be the English channel.

By La-Verne Hamil from Sussex  


The ship had gone down some ways back. The sea had claimed my family; everything and everyone I love. I dove down and let the waters take me back to them.

By Daniel Fielding

 

Atrocious weather and that albatross they'd had for lunch was definitely off. As Jonah hung over the side puking, he felt the day couldn't get any worse.

By Barbara Hickson 


And we had to put this one in...

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Biblical manuscripts containing 972 texts. And yet still they never won first prize in a Txtlit competition.

By Carol Bennion-Pedley

 

 

 



 

 
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