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.
August 2015 Competition

For August your competition theme is "The Queue".We're sure to have writers queuing up to write a story of 154 characters or less, preceded by the STORY and then sent as a text to 82085. Cost £1

September 2015 Competition

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

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


June Competition: Theme - Crime Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

He was a brilliant student but kept himself to himself. Our parents miss him yet how could I spend my life in his shadow? Pity he never learnt to swim.

June's competition winner is Beryl Sennett who declares to be absolutely thrilled to have won; especially Beryl Sennettas this is her first attempt!  After graduatig in June having spent the last six years doing a part-time BA Hons English degree, Beryl now wants to concentrate on writing a novel and hopefully get it published. Beryl lives in Oxfordshire but spend a lot of time running a holiday let in Stratford-upon-Avon and says the amount of laundry she has to do often makes her feel like Widow Twanky. Oh no it doesn't!

We liked this entry because it's nicely constructed; setting the scene, creating a motive and delivering a punchline, and it gives us just enough information to understand it, but requires a little bit of detective work from us as we read between the lines to find the clues. Sibling rivalry has been the cause behind crimes throughout the centuries and its neatly bought into play here in this Txtlit story. Our protaganist is clealry being overshadowed by a brilliant brother, to the extent where he or she will go to any lengths to find recognition, even, as we are drawn into assuming, murder. The fact that it is only the parents who miss their son neatly conveys a lack of feeling from the speaker, and the way the final line is calmly delivered adds an element of menace and gives us our clue to the real cause of death. Nice job.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Stolen strawberries always tasted sweeter. If caught, the punishment would be a kiss. She lingered longer, licking her reddened lips in anticipation.

By Wendy Mark 

Blood, a subtle calling card. Of course they don't know the deaths are linked, but each victim has the blood of the last on their hands. Literally.

By Samantha Horne 

I don't buy from roadside vendors but the guy in the day-glo jacket was very persuasive. I thought £95 was very reasonable for a speed awareness course.

By John Wheable, Herts.

And a few we couldn't resist...


"Hold it right there and listen up punk. This is an 86g Magnum, the most powerful ice cream in the world. Do you feel lucky? You do? Here you go then."

Awaiting Author's details

"Are you going out again tonight Jack?".

Also by John Wheable


Assault, identity fraud, attempted murder... He howled at the charges, a fierce defence. But the girl made him see RED. Helpless. The wolf pounced again.

By Eilise Norris


May Competition: Theme - The Game Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I hope I can beat level one this time. The fools keep killing each other, they never learn. Flood reset again. Deep breath, I'm ready. Let there be light.

Congratulations to Gary Buck from Southeast London, who tells us he is surprised and Gaz Buckexcited to win our May competition. Gary, or Gaz as prefers, has just completed year two of a four year MEng Civil Engineering course and likes to write short stories for fun in his spare time. A fan of any challenge that involves words or puzzles, Gaz occasionally writes for student magazines and papers and takes an interest in science fiction and heroic fantasy, which we think comes across in his winning entry. One of Gaz’s dreams is to have something published so we’re glad to oblige on the online front; and on this form we don’t think it will be long before we see some of his work in print.

To be honest, we didn't get this story at the first read. Initially we thought it was about a specific computer game and so nearly disregarded it for being to narrowly targeted. Then we realised it is actually a parody where God is the player and the creation of Earth is the game. We liked the subtle hint about the flood being reset, and the idea of taking a deep breath in preparation of restarting a game is especially relevant. The real give away though was the final sentence which makes sense of the whole story. On re-reading we get the full entertainment value, and though it's only fiction it's a disturbing concept to think that we're still at level 1. This is a well thought out and brilliantly constructed Txtlit story.   

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Zac held his breath. Grandpa studied the chessmen. Would he spot the knight? "Gotcha," Grandpa said, triumphant. Zac smiled. Reverse cheating was so hard.

By Anne Graham, Edinburgh  


She knew the rules. Her mind focused on the prize. Yet she felt no pride as she collected the winnings - ninety pounds for her first night on the game.

By Loretta Hegarty   


He could feel the heat as soon as he opened the door. Though it did seem like a good idea at the time. Up above the game of souls continued....

By Julie Fielding  


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