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.
October 2015 Competition

The Discovery is your October theme. 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.

November 2015 Competition

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

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



August Competition: Theme - Missing Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Desperately he searched for his missing ticket. Now no chance of a new life in America. He watched in despair as the Titanic set sail.

La-Verne Hamil wins August's competition, the theme for which was 'Missing. La-Verne retiredLaverne Hamil from her job as a teaching assistant two years ago and moved from West London to Sussex with her husband Tony. She tells us that she is finding retirement extremely busy and rewarding as she now has time to pursue a variety of interests. She has always loved writing and finds Txtlit extremely challenging and enjoyable. Well, that's why we're here.


We had a fantastic response to our August competition. The theme of 'Missing' was deliberately chosen to encourage diversity in your entries and you didn't disappoint. We finally opted for this entry by XXX as the winner for a number of reasons. Overall, the story is clever, without being over-complicated, meaning you   'get it' on the first read. The inclusion of the Titanic does lots of the story telling in a single word whilst simultaneously providing the twist in what is a classically constructed story. And we just loved the irony. Imagine the rollercoaster of emotions somebody who was actually in that situation might experience. Very thought provoking.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

The bound man has done no wrong, we know. I aim high and miss. But the nine beside me are trained to obey, not question. My groans are drowned by his.

By Jacqui Skelly from London 

No sun in the sky. No birds in the trees. No cat on the doorstep. No welcoming face at the window. Serves me right for buying a jumble sale jigsaw.

By Alice Dryden from Bromley, Kent 

She hobbled back into the house on one shoe,she'd made that coach by a whisker. But it had been worth every minute, blisters and all. She'd had a ball.

ByVal Fish from Peterborough


And see if you can work this one out...

Th plcmn ws ntnt n gttng t th bttm f th rbbry. Tws vdnt tht th crm ws a qstn f vwl mvmnt. Eoieaaieoeioeoooeoaeieaaaueioooeoee.

Awaiting author's details


July Competition: Theme - Make a Wish Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Looking at the gun aimed at him he closed his eyes and made a wish. He heard nothing, for a moment he thought it had worked. 'I'm afraid not,' said Death.

July's winner is James Bywater, 27 from Northamptonshire. James works at a bakery but has recently James Bywater completed an Open University course in Creative Writing, which motivated him to enter into writing competitions. This is James's first Txtlit entry and he tells us he feels elated to have won! James has been tinkering with short stories for a while, but his Txtlit entry is certainly the shortest he's written so far. His plan is to start small and work bigger, and so far it seems to be working.


Logistically, this is a well thought through story, and is nicely rounded off with a classic twist. Faced with what looks to be certain death, probably all of us would resort to simply wishing the inevitable wouldn't happen. Clearly this is what the protagonist has done in this story, but because he has died so instantaneously, he hasn't even had chance to hear the gun being fired. Imagine the elation you might feel of having a wish come true at your most desperate moment. A brilliantly delivered twist reveals however that for our character, wishes remain but a fantasy, and, as Death can obviously read peoples thoughts, the reality of the situation is revealed in the worst possible way. We particularly like the deadpan execution of the reveal. A simple "said" to describe how the single phrase of dialogue is delivered says so much and is exactly what you would expect from Death himself.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

She wiped the mud from the shiny metal object. Would she get her wish? She rubbed furiously and it began to glow. Yes, her IPhone still worked!

By John Wheable, Herts. 

She wished for eternal peace, before accidentally following her penny into the well.  The deeper she went, the quieter it became, as her wish came true.

By Angela Smith, kent 

"Make me a cake!" I commanded imperiously. Seconds later, my genie was cackling gleefully as he sank his fork into my spongy, icing-coated rump.

Awaiting Author's details


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