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.
 
November 2014 Competition

November's competition theme is The Source. Who or what & from where is your choice. So long as your story is 154 characters or less, preceded by the word STORY and a space and texted to 82085

December 2014 Competition

December's competition theme will be released at the end of the November. Come back to find out what it will be and to see the results for October.

 

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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.

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January 2011: Theme - Science Fiction Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

And so, after destroying yet another planet - this time the once beautiful gem called Earth - the race of aliens known as humans moved on. 

 

Well done Katharine de Vall of London, winner of our first competition of 2011 for which the theme Katharine de Vallwas Science Fiction. A freelance advertising copywriter for  15 years, Katharine decided last year that it was time she did some writing of her own and so took a three day creative writing course at the London School of Journalism to help her get started. Katherine soon discovered that there are loads of writing competitions to enter but immediatley loved the concept of Txtlit when she discovered us online. Well, who can blame her?


Science Fiction as a competition theme always generates lots of entries, and we have had some excellent stories in the past with some brilliantly original ideas. Sometimes though, an original variation on an established idea can grab your attention and that's what happened with us this time round. The concept of humans destroying their own habitat certainly isn't a new one. It could even be argued that it is the current reality rather than fiction. The difference with Katharine's story however is that the destruction of the planet is portayed as a regular occurence and humans have a history of colonising planets, rendering them uninhabitable and then moving on. The story also has a neat construction; uncomplicated with a modest reveal at the end when we discover that it is actually humans we were being told about, even though we kind of new what was coming.




Other Shortlisted Entries:


Sympathy for the machine is this century's great weakness. These automatons are not alive, do not feel. I clamp the soft face in my hand and twist.

By Ross Stewart   

  


How quickly the human body repairs itself. Kai's new head even had the hair he'd lost since turning 120. But what point if just to re-join the war?

By Carolyn Thomas
 

  


She stands at the porthole until earth is a blurry speck, hand on her belly. He will be an old man when he lands, just like all the others she must grow.

By Kerenza Moore 




 

 
December 10 Competition: Theme - Money Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

The ransom was in a bag - her stepfather's  money. I kissed her, gave her the bag and let her go. It was going to be OK - he loves my daughter like I do. 

 

Brian James from Staffordshire wins December's Txtlit competition, the theme for which was 'Money'. Brian James Brian, who works full-time in local-government outsourcing hadn't really taken much notice of writing competitions before, let alone entered one. But, he came across Txtlit.co.uk and decided it looked like fun and so entered a story. We bet he's glad he made the effort as he'll soon be £50 better off. We're just happy to have introduced someone new to the genre.


This is a very clever story by Brian James which expertly tells us so much by reading between the lines. Clearly a ransom has been paid but it's not until we read the whole story that we understand the motivation behind it. The fact that the apparent kidnap victim is let go with the bag containing the ransom causes some confusion, but it all becomes clear when we understand the lengths that a father has gone to for the sake of his daughter's happiness and wellbeing. An interetsing interpretation of the Money theme too. Brian has clearly thought outside the box with this one. 



Other Shortlisted Entries:


As the cash-filled envelope dropped to the mat so did her hope. She had been praying he would want them both. 'Sorry' she wept, gently touching her belly.

By Karen Francis  

  


My stupid, rich parents! I told them I wanted money for my 18th. They got me a crappy picture of water lilies by someone called Claude. I torched it!

By Delphine Richards of Dryslwyn, Carmarthen 
 

  


Mother regarded our gift a curse. But as we watched the sixth and final ball roll down, she agreed some premonitions could be advantageous.

By Andrea Hayward of Bury St Edmunds 




 

 
November 2010 Competition: Theme - Continue 'It was a pleasure to burn' Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

It was a pleasure to burn. Inhalation was heavenly, exhalation a sin. I grieved every time the fire died. It felt like hell when the packet was empty.  

 

Congratulations to Martin Parsons of Weybridge in Surrey for winning the November competition Martin Parsonsfor which we had some excellent entries. Martin has been writing for over a decade, but up until recently, only for his own pleasure. This year he's begun to write short stories for publication and entering as many writing competitions as he could. Yet to be published Txtlit is the first competition in which Martin has seen any success and it has given him great encouragement to continue writing. He's been practicing his flash fiction by regularly entering a 75 word story competition at another website which has allowed him to hone his skills when it comes to writing very short ficiton ss his win this month clearly demonstrates.

 

With your opening line given to you for the November competition it was interesting to see the number of different ways it was interpreted. We were blown away though by the quality of the entries, hence a couple extra making the shortlist. But we love a good twist or a reveal at the end of a story that makes us say "Ah, yes!"; and this narrative from Martin Parsons doesn't dissapoint. We are given a little clue at the outset with how the inhalation and exhalation make our protaganist feel. And there is something sinister about grieving each time the fire dies. Are we dealing with a pyromaniac perhaps? The closing line is a real gem but it's a simple phrase like "when the packet was empty" that gives the game away. Any smokers planning to quit this January?




Other Shortlisted Entries:


It was a pleasure to burn in the crackling, blazing depths of hell. My deliciously sinful memories transcended me above the pain and sustained me through the isolation.

By Karen Francis  


 

It was a pleasure to burn. The sharp rays of the sun soaked her pale skin for the first time in her life. Finally free of the cellar, she turned her back as her father was led away.

By Chloe Banks from Bristol
 


It was a pleasure to burn. He had done it dozens of times before and he never lost his taste for it; a phoenix, he would rise a new. Glancing at his engulfed documents, he vacated.

By Richard Turner from Abram, Wigan

 

It was a pleasure to burn. I rocketed up and adorned the night sky with fire. Such a short life. I faded, whispering as the sky darkened. Remember, remember the fifth of November.

By Jo Thompson
 


It was a pleasure to burn. To burn them all. To smell their melting flesh, to see their beautiful scars. I smiled as they screamed. But we all knew I was the best tattooist in town.

By Lizzie Morrison
 

 
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

 

 
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