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

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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.

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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.

January Competition: Theme - Safe at Last Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Through monsoons and hurricanes, the chosen ones bore their cherished charge until, safe at last, it flared in the cauldron. The 2012 Olympics were born.

Congratulations to Aileen Shirra of Cumbernauld, who wins or first competition of 2012. Aileen works asAileenshirra a literacies development worker within a community learning and development team where she supports adults in developing their basic skills, especially reading and writing. Aileen has always had an interest in writing and has been exploring various means of encouraging her learners to engage with writing and enjoy it, which in turn helps them to overcome their fear of writing and see it as a potentially enjoyable pastime. Several of them have taken part in competitions and really enjoy the challenge and this helps to make functional writing less threatening. Aileen tells us she has a particular love of writing poetry, in particular humorous children's poetry.


Safe at Last was your theme for January and although this was reasonably prescriptive, we were very pleased with the range of stories that we received. More than a few of you opted for the play on words with a confused burglar finally finding the physical safe. In choosing the winner it's probably fair to say that we were a little influenced by the timely subject matter, with the London Olympics due to commence later this year, but it was a solid construction and twisted ending the truly won us over. A little embellishment exists as we're told of travelling through monsoons and hurricanes but we particularly like the use of language to draw us in, such as the 'chosen ones' and the 'cherished charge'. Indeed, ensuring the Olympic Flame reaches its destination is a concern for many and we can almost feel relief as the cauldron is lit. Cleverly, there is no actual mention of the flame although we know it is what the story is about immediately we read the final sentence.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

It was a beacon of light after the dark uncertainty of the wood. They were safe. Walking towards the cottage Hanzel took his sister's hand.

By Laura Kenny  

The Mayans were right and the world ended in 2012. The human race was made extinct. Mother Nature sighed, "Ah, safe at last."

By Jonathan Hall  

She heard his footsteps and shouting. With one last look, she stepped off the ledge. Safe at last.

By Sue Mitchell  



December Competition: Theme - Seasons Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

She lay still felled by the fatal blow. Rusty leaves covered her, then a shroud of snow. Spring speeded her decay but her acorn sprouted by Midsummer Day.

Well done Clare Marsh, winner of the December 2011 Txtlit competition. Clare lives in Kent whereClare Marsh she prepares reports for a living. She started creative writing two years ago and is now completely addicted. She has since studied with the Open University and attends the Tonbridge Writers’ Circle.  Recently Clare had a piece published in a national anthology of memoirs written by WI members: ‘Crocodiles, Cakes and the Queen’s Petticoats’. Clare admits that her entry started out as a story and then began to rhyme, giving it a poetic angle. She doesn't ‘do’ poetry but sometimes a piece of writing just takes on a life of its own.


December's theme was "seasons" and we gave you the option to tell a story that involved one, some or all of the four seasons. So, plenty of scope which led to some very interesting entries. We chose Clare Marsh's story as the winner because, despite the limitations of a Txtlit story, this really has the feeling of a much bigger tale. There is some excellent use of language and the description of 'rusty leaves' to describe the effects of autumn and the 'shroud of snow' for winter enables the reader to conjure up a very vivid image. Let's also not overlook the classic story construction that treats us to a twist at the end. By describing the tree as 'she' at the outset we are drawn to believe that the story is about a person, but when we learn of the acorn in the final few words we are hit with the realisation that we are reading the fate of an oak tree. You will also note that Clare has cleverly crafted her story to rhyme, however please note that as this was not a poetry competition the judging was not influenced by this at all. Ignoring the rhyming, this was still a clear winner.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Summer passed.  As the longer nights crept in, so too did death in their shadow. The table was laid, his place was set. No-one would ask his name.

By Juliet Thorne  

The snowman under the tree knows daffodils are a death sentence. His stone eyes drip at the thought of never seeing summer.

By David Salisbury  

I hate winter. Simply because of that Christmas madness I get pulled into. Call me a miser, but I'm not doing it again...if I can talk Mrs Claus round!

By Delphine Richards of Dryslwyn, Carmarthen 



November Competition: Theme - Luck Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

As the last ball appeared, Jim couldn't believe his luck. £6.2 million? If only he'd bought the damn syndicate ticket. He winced as the phone rang.

November winner Andrew Clarke was a little late sending us his details but his photo shows us the reason why. Andrew Clarke with HeidiHis daughter Heidi was born shortly before Christmas, so he clearly had his hands full with more pressing issues. With a busy job and now a second child filling his time, (Heidi has a 16 month old brother) Andrew finds himself drawn mostly to reading and writing short stories. He has written a few stories over the last 10 years but had never previously had the confidence to enter any competitions or try to get published. Apart from being a great challenge Andrew finds Txtlit is something you can do in any spare minute you have,like sitting on the bus. Andrew's win here might just spur him on to have a proper go again in 2012.


We had lower than average entries for November but that didn't effect the standard and we were treated to some excellent micro stories. With the theme of Luck, storylines were pretty evenly split between good luck and bad luck. A few tried to combine good and bad luck but we think our winner did the best job of this. We are immediatley able to grasp that the situation is about a lottery draw and we are led to believe that Jim has just landed himself a big win. Then we realise that in fact this is a stroke of bad luck for Jim as he has failed to buy his syndicate's ticket. Where others may have finished the story here, we are given a final line that leads us to contemplate the consequences of Jim's misdemeanour, wether it be deliberate or a mistake. We were wincing as much as Jim is when he hears the phone ring.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

He watched the women walking by and tossed a coin. "Heads. Lucky." He tossed the coin again. "Tails." He followed the next  woman. "Not your lucky day."

By Andy Brown of East Lothian 

The wishbone wedged in her windpipe. She gagged, tears trickling, as they slid the stretcher into the ambulance. She was comatose when the collision came.

By Katie Gelbart  

The balls roll in: 12 11 52, 07 04 55. The day we met, the day we married. It means nothing without you, love. I'll donate the lot to cancer research.

By Catriona Mackay from London



October Competition: Theme - Empty Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Today I shall conquer my enemy. The cursor blinks mockingly as time passes quickly by. Still the page remains empty. Procrastination defeats me again.

October's competition has been won by Andrea Hayward of Bury St Edmunds. This is the second win from Andrea HaywardAndrea who has also had a number of runner up places. Andrea has had a career change since her last Txtlit win and has been busy setting up her own business as a freelance beauty therapist, meaning she's unfortunately not been able to spend much time writing. However, she tells us that she is delighted to have won a second time it's iven her the boost she needed to make her determined that that empty page will be a thing of the past. Clearly the ease of the Txtlit competition format has played its part in re-igniting Andrea's interest in writing.


We felt that the theme of 'Empty' would give you all plenty of scope for your creativity, and we were certainly impressed by the diversity of the entries for October. One or two ideas were favoured by a number of you, in particular 'empty promises', but otherwise we were treated to a wide range of plots. We liked Andrea Hayward's story because, as writers, we can all relate to the foreboding of an empty page (Or empty mobile phone screen for Txtlit writers). By setting out with a declaration to 'conquer my enemy' we are drawn in and want to learn more about who this potential hero is. Quickly we understand the scenario and by the third sentence we can almost sense the depression. Finally our enemy, procrastination, is the victor, and the fact that it is not the first time it has triumphed adds to the despair we now share with the writer. Nicely done and an excellent tempo.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Vainly she hurriedly closed the box, but it was almost empty. It left her only hope to cling to, for all else was gone. Bowing her head, Pandora wept.

By Loretta Hegarty 

Edith saw the man blush as she shook his hand and felt her faith in human nature restored. It was only later she realised her purse was already empty...

By Lynne Arnot of Edingburgh 

In the darkness I probed the empty pack. 'No smokes?' asked Tommy, lighting his own. CRACK! Sniper! 'May as well have yours' I said, closing his eyes.

ByLesley Shaw



September Competition:Theme - Ghost Story Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

"Don't leave me," I beg him as they begin CPR. Then the nurse smiles and says, "Looks like we've got him back," and suddenly I'm here all alone again.

September's competition winner is Benjamin Woolley, 30, from East Yorkshire. Following university Benjamin Woolleyand various admin and clerical jobs, Benjamin is currently a voluntary worker helping out with creative projects for people with mental health problems. He is now pursuing a full time career in this area. Benjamin's main creative hobby is music but he's always been interested in creative writing; although he admits that he doesn't have as much time for it as he would really like, a factor which made the idea of a text message story competition appealing. One of the many reasons why Txtlit is appealing of course!


Ghost Story is one of the themes that we repeat and we are always impressed with the originality of the entries each time we run it. We liked Benjamin's story because it is cleverly written from the ghost's perspective, although we don't realise this until the end when the classic twist is cleverly bought into play. At the outset it's clear that we will be asked to show sympathy for our protagonist with a few simple words of dialogue. The use of "CPR" is cleverly employed as it tells us so much about the situation with a minimum of characters. We should be treated to a happy ending as the person undergoing treatment is bought back to life, again neatly described through dialogue. But the final sentence reveals that the protagonist is actually the ghost who was pleading with the patient to remain dead to keep him company. A great story with a perfect sprinkling of melancholy.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

A solitary tear splashed onto my white gown when your serenely cool presence departed at the altar. Death couldn't stop you giving me away, could it dad?

By Samantha Joanne Luton from Leek, Staffordshire 

The band plays on and we waltz to timeless currents, dine in first class luxury, roam unrestricted, all 1500 of us equal now here on our Titanic.

By Brian Macfarland from Watford, Hertfordshire 

Bess always was Dad's dog. We knew she could still see him, because she gave her special bark when he was around. The noise faded a year after she died.

By Alice Dryden from Bromley, Kent



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