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.
July 2014 Competition

Your July theme is Mistaken Identity. Who is mistaken and what are the consequences? Write a story in 154 characters or less, precede it with the word STORY and a space and text it to 82085

August 2014 Competition

We'll reveal the competition theme for August at the end of July. Come back to find out what it will be and to see the results for June. In the meantime, get writing your entries for July.



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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 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 

May 2010 Competition: Theme - Forgotten Print E-mail

Winning Entry:


'Whatever you do, don't forget to lock the cage.' The words boiled inside Eric's head as the beast rose above him, baring bloodstained fangs.


Well done to James Emberson for winning the May Txtlit competition, the theme James Embersonfor which was forgotten. James, 23, is currently studying towards a Masters in Creative Writing at Brunel University and found Txtlit through the short story website www.theshortstory.org.uk (Thanks for the link). He has entered various other short story and flash fiction competitions but enjoyed the challenge of getting his idea into 154 characters and found Txtlit by far the most accessible. James is currently working on his first novel (which falls under the banner of 'psychological horror') as part of his Masters studies.
We like this story because it has an uncomplicated construction but still manages to deliver an unexpected ending. The scene is set with a single line of dialogue and we deduce that there may be consequences for forgetting to lock the cage. We are also allowed to assume that it will be forgotten. How Eric is feeling is made clear with the description of the words 'boiling' in his head as he faces certain doom. The finer details of Eric's demise is left to our own imagination though we are given enough of a description of the beast to draw our conclusions. A neat story that doesn't try to be too clever.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Did I? Did I? Yes of course I did. Last month or last week. DEFINITELY paid - I think. 10 yards and closing. Keep calm. 'Your driving documents please?'

By Ed Kirkham 


I just want a cuddle, for him to want me like he used to. He never even looks at me anymore. I guess he's just got too grown up for his old teddy bear.

By Jill Hughes

He searched frantically in the desk drawers for his World Cup ticket. 'Have you forgotten where you put it?' his wife asked, idly stroking the shredder.

By Catriona Gordon McMillan 

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