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.
September 2015 Competition

For our September competition write us a Ghost Story. You have 154 characters which should be preceded by the word STORY and a space and then sent as a text to 82085. Cost £1+ 1 network text.

October 2015 Competition

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

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 


January 2014 Competition: Theme - Hello Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

He was so frail; less than a shadow. The wasted years hung between us like broken promises. This hello was more painful than any goodbye I had ever known.

Our first competition of 2014 is won with this entry from Alison V King of Cardiff.  Twenty-eight yearAlison V King old Alison has been writing for as long as she can remember. After discovering Txtlit.co.uk in December she was really proud to be a runner up with her first attempt. She goes on to tell us how Micro-fiction fascinates her and whilst a lot of people dismiss it, she admits that it's actually very difficult to tell a complete story in so few characters. "You want a beginning, a middle and an end, you want your reader to be emotionally invested, you want characters people will care about and you want every word to matter." Well put Alison! Despite the frustration it brings, Alison finds herself constantly compelled to try.

The theme for January's competition was 'Hello', and whilst the meaning of the word was applied similalry amonst the vast majority of entries, we saw a good range of diversity in the plots and storylines. Alison's story idea wasn't unique; quite a few of you used the idea of a reunion as the basis of your story, where perhaps "hello" doesn't seem to be the most appropriate greeting. However we felt Alison's story conjured the most emotion and excercised the best use of language. The introductory phrase speaks volumes and immediatey draws us in to discover more. "less than a shadow" is so thoroughly descriptive of both the subject's physical condition and his persona. The middle sentence, referencing the wasted years tells us just enough to undertsand the situation and Alison uses a technique we have seen before in Txtlit stories where the description, here 'like broken promises', is used to double effect. To illustrate the situation and tell the story. We can deduce that the narrator is trying to reconcile with his or her father, who, now near death, has never fulfilled his role. Finally, we understand the tension as the meeting is compared to a parting, something we naturally expect to be emotionally charged and also tinged with sadness. The comparison of something totally opposite adds to the gravity. A great story.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

She smoothed the black dress over her hips, auburn hair gleaming, red nails and lips. Time to celebrate the transition. Goodbye to John, hello to Jocelyn.

By Rosemary Gemmel of Langbank, Scotland 

Lying in the road, used and thrown away. Lucy would never know what that first shy 'Hello' through a strange car window had cost her.

By Danielle Allen

She stares out at me from the screen, daring me. I hate this online dating thing. It's degrading. Yet my fingers type of their own accord. "Hello..."

By Jess Dixon 


December Competition: Theme - Don't look down Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Leave it. Turn away, up here away from the chaos; away from the hurt. Take my hand; come on, you can do it. There, you're safe now. Safe in heaven.

The December 2013 competition was won with this entry by previous runner-up Michaela Barry from Michaela BarryBurnley in Lancashire. Michaela first discovered Txtlit early last year and particularly likes the concept as it "really makes you think!" She has entered the competitions a handful of times and been short listed twice but was understandably delighted to hear of her first win. Michaela has always loved writing but, with the exception of a small number of short stories, this has always been informal. Now she is spurred on to do more and to work on developing her style. Michaela admints that this interpretation was a little out of the ordinary for her as she usually leans more towards humour. Well, we're not complaining.

When we set the December competition theme we thought that we were being quite prescriptive and that the theme of "Don't look down" would limit the range of the stories we received. We couldn't have been more wrong. December competitions historically receive fewer entries, but despite following this trend, the diversity of stories and plots was exceptional. We decided upon Michaela Barry's entry as the winner for a number of reasons. The story itself builds beautifully; the narrator clearly encouraging somebody to leave something behind and this encouragement seems to crescendo until safety is reached. The story is neatly punctuated too with excellent use of full stops, commas and semi-colons to create a tempo and beat that makes it easy to read. Then there's the story itself. We, or someone, is being told to leave behind something or somewhere. This begins as a command, but then quickly turns to persuasion as what is being left behind is simply chaos and hurt. The "Take my hand" line feeds us a feeling of security, although at this stage we are still unsure if the person doing the encouraging is to be trusted. The reveal tells us we have died and gone to heaven. Whilst there is a feeling of relief that we are safe, this is mixed with the knowledge that to get here we have died. Finally, as we reflect on the whole story, we can see the subtle connection to the competition theme, tingeing it all with a little sadness.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

Ruthlessly he climbed the ladder of success. It was only in nightmares that he saw the faces of colleagues he'd stepped on and the girl he'd left behind.

By Chad Elliot 

Green creeps up my leg. I don't look but I feel the change. Skin to stem, blood to water, lash to leaf. Tears won't save me. My name fades to a whisper.

By Alison V King

"You're wrong, Officer. Zak couldn't have been involved - he's been in his room all night." Zak nodded, hoping they wouldn't notice the ash on his shoes.

By Chloe Banks

And one that will stir memories for many...

'The first time's the worst' she encouraged 'just don't look down! Nose in the air-you'll be fine.' 'Ok,' he gasped and bent to change the poopy nappy.

By Aileen Shirra


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