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.
 
September 2014 Competition

For September your theme is "The Ship". Any ship or any type of ship you like. Just write a story in 154 characters or less, precede it with the word STORY and a space and text it to 82085

October 2014 Competition

October's theme will be posted at the end of September. Come back to find out what it will be and to see the results for August.

 

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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.



October Competition: Theme - Surprise Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

His wife arranged a surprise for his birthday. He found lacy panties where the ripcord belonged. It took the rest of his life to remember whose they were.  

 

A second win for Dan Purdue from Worcester with this outstanding entry. Since his last win in July 2009, Dan PurdueDan has been working on a novel, which, having almost finished, went back to the beginning to change the point of view and re-jig the structure. He has also been writing a lot of short stories, trying to develop his range and generally improve as a writer; with some successes. Dan won the Chapter One Short Story Competition, got a story into Writers' Forum magazine, and picked up a few placings and shortlistings in other competitions. Dan has also set up a blog so if anyone's interested in learning more, they can catch up at http://lies-ink.blogspot.com/

Dan says, "I hadn't visited the Txtlit site for a while, but I'm glad I came back as I'd forgotten what good exercise it is to try to tell a story in such a compressed word count. It really brings it home to you how powerful a single word can be, and how what you leave out can be as important as what you put in." Well put Dan.

 

This is a real cracker from Dan and a deserved second win. He has managed to tell so much of the story between the lines but we are still able to grasp the plot within a single reading. This story could easily have finished after the second line but Dan has shown real professionalism here by adding the third sentence which gives the story closure in an amusing way whilst leaving us a little working out to do. With 'Surprise' as the theme, this story nails it. Dan has clearly worked hard at his entry too to get it to fit to the competition parameters at exactly 154 characters.



Other Shortlisted Entries:


Surprise! 'Very funny', I admitted, taking in his costume, 'but my birthday is next week'. 'I know', he replied, and the scythe came down.

By Shona Short  


 

The pink tassels, handcuffs and whipped cream were inevitable, it was my stag night, but my mother-in- law as the stripogram was rather unexpected.

By Tracy Fells
 


'Nice cosy place to kip', chuckled Mr Hedgehog, burrowing into a pile of wood with a funny man on top. Soon to be cosier, MUCH cosier than he ever dreamt!

By Liz Evans 

 


 

 
September 2010 Competition: Theme - Lost Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

I tried airports, train stations, hospitals and police stations. When I thought you had gone forever, you came back. Now I have to try to lose you again.

  

Well done to Alice Gregg form London for winning the September competition which had "Lost" as alice greggthe theme. 27 year old Alice has recently decided to concentrate on writing full-time, and says that this win has been a brilliant, encouraging start. She tells us that the prize money will go towards her rent.



We had a surprisingly low turnout for the September competition. We thought the theme would have inspired a few more of you to enter. Notwithstanding, Alice is a deserving winner with this classically formatted entry. The scene is set as we are led to believe that the story's protagonist has been searching in vain for a lost entity, looking in all the usual places you might expect. We are treated to a twist in the last sentence as we discover that our character was trying to lose something or someone rather than find it. What it is that comes back doesn't really matter but Alice has managed to weave in a sinster air about whatever or whoever it is.



Other Shortlisted Entries:


It started well but how would it end? Suspended in nothingness they waited. No one knew what, if anything would happen next. The author had lost the plot.

By Lorna D'Alton  


 

She wandered from rail to rail, lost in pretty dresses and skirts, until fear gripped her as she realised her desperate situation. Mummy, where are you?

By Samantha Priestley
 


Hansel decided not to  take the Satnav, relying on Gretel's recent orienteering qualification to get them out of any potentially sticky situation.

By Audrey Elliot 

 

And a real cringer...   

Perfectly aged venison graced the menu. From the dusk beyond the soft lights, drifted the haunting lament of a hind who had lost her hart to the chef.

By Aileen Shirra

 

 
August 2010 Competition: Theme - Crime Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

I knew it was the wrong decision, but money's tight in my game. Sweat dripped off my anxious brow. With a heavy heart, but a full account... 'PENALTY!'

  

It's a second competition win for Richard Turner from Abram, Wigan with this entry for ourRichard Turner August competition which had Crime as the theme. Apart from being one year older much has remained the same for Richard who is an English Lecturer. Since winning the competition last August, Richard has eagerly recommended the competition to his students - particularly in their college 'Competition Writing Club'. Richard says Txtlit is a great way to get people from all walks of life involved with literature in a quick and simple way. We agree!

Crime has been a competition theme on several occasions now, and because of its popularity, story originality has become a key component when judging the entries. Many of you answered the call and selecting a winner took a lot of deliberation but Richard won us over with this entry which combined originality with the contemporary issue of 'match-fixing' in sport. But it was more than just the idea that won Richard his second Txtlit competition. The story is very well constructed as we are thrown immediately into a dilemma that we understand to be driven by financial desperation, or perhaps greed. The tension mounts and although the character is sad, he justifies his decision by thinking of the money. The final word reveals all.



Other Shortlisted Entries:


'Tuck in,' she said. I deserved to; I'd given her years of hell. But having found her secret ingredient, I thought it only fair that Ann should join me...

By Tessa Eydmann  


 

He watched her aging face turn purple; turned up the TV and hurried to his attic retreat. Who could blame him for not hearing his wife choke on a peanut?

By Lorna D'Alton
 


Trapped by green slippery walls, there was no way out. Would the camera work? Would Miss Brutal Hands get her comeuppance? Would this kitty have her day?

By Liz Cleere 

   



 
 
July 2010 Competition: Theme - Disappointed Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

'Oh,' she sighed, 'but I thought I'd done everything right?' Turning her back on the closed, translucent gates she looked down into the waiting inferno.

  

Congratulations to Tracy Fells, winner of the July Txtlit competition, which had the theme 'Disappointed'. Tracy Fells Tracy made the decision to leave her full-time career earlier in the year and is now trying to devote as much time as possible to her writing. Tracy writes short fiction and poetry, and is working on a second novel whilst simultaneously endeavouring to keep some focus in the real world and be a good mum and all round 'nice' human being. While she attempts to generate an income from writing, Tracy also works as a consultant providing management training. Tracy found it a tough challenge to create something meaningful within 154 characters but she is getting more into Flash fiction and sees Txtlit as the ultimate in Flash fiction. We agree of course.

One of our most popular competitions to date, we certainly bought out the best in you all with July's 'Disappointed' theme. We often comment in our judging critiques that it is what is 'not' said that can tell much of the story, particulalry where Txtlit is concerned. We have a great example of this in Tracy's story as our character meets what is probably the ultimate disappointment. The tone is clearly set with some simple dialogue, and as the story unravels we understand exactly where our character is and the fate that now awaits her. Thinking she had done 'everything right' it's no wonder she's dissapointed.  A worthy winner against some very stiff competition this month. 



Other Shortlisted Entries:


'You've let me down, son.' I hissed the words through the bars of the cell, as he smoothed down the awkward creases in his brand new copper's uniform.

By Ian Richards  


 

I shake with anticipation, it's got to fall this time - but unladen fork returns to empty plate without loss. I put my head on my paws and sigh.

By Cav O'Neil
 


Chasing that musical dragon, I run so fast it hurts. I know before I get there that I'm too late. Goodbye Mr Ice-cream man. Next time, I'll catch you!

By Danielle Allen

 

He held her hand across the table. 'Claire, I've got something important I need to ask you'. No she thought. God, please no. Not in Pizza Express'.

By Sara Marshall  



 
 
June 2010 Competition: Theme - The Mistake Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

Mistakes have cost me my car, house and wife. But enough is enough. Or is it? I nod to the dealer, resolving - one last time - to let the cards decide.

  

Congratulations to to Paul Ramplin, winner of the June Txtlit competition, which had the theme The paul ramplinMistake. Full time Dad, Paul found Txtlit purely by accident and, having always liked writing, was drawn to the idea of the easy to enter concept that Txtlit provides.  He admits however that he finds the process of telling a story in 154 characters far harder than actually submitting it. Paul mostly write story books for his three children so they'll be over the moon when he tells them that he's won! 



We were impressed with the range of plots that we received for the June competition but we decided that Paul Ramplin was a worthy winner with this entry. There are no twists in Paul's story. We learn very quickly that our character is a compulsive gambler and over time has lost everything dear to him; the order in which the losses are listed in order of increasing significance. The phrase 'I nod to the dealer' tells us so much and although our character has stated that enough is enough, he just can't help himself and once again leaves his fate to the turn of a few cards. Paul has expertly created a sullen, almost dark atmosphere within the story and we know that relying on the next deal will be our character's next mistake. 



Other Shortlisted Entries:


My life's been one big screw up. I always let everybody down. But as they place you in my arms I know you'll be my saviour, my perfect mistake.

By Andrea Hayward of Bury St Edmunds 


 

I keep screaming, aware that I sound just like the other newborns. Knowing I'll never see her again, I watch as my mummy walks away with the wrong baby.

Also by Paul Ramplin
 


Found at the coast, these undulating banks of wind-blown sand are often topped with wispy clumps of tall grass. This is the Dune competition, right?

By Matthew King, St Albans 



 
 
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