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.
December 2014 Competition

Best Friends is your theme for December. Who are best friends and why is up to you. Simply precede your story of 154 characters or less with the word STORY and text it 82085.

January 2015 Competition

The first competition theme for 2015 will be released at the end of December. Start your New Year writing resolutions with a Txtlit competition entry.


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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.

May Competition: Theme - Buried Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Sparkling eyes stare at me. I'm hypnotised. She's seeing a school and loving ghosts. I let her stay buried in childhood as I cradle her wrinkled hand.

This entry from Tessa Eydman wins our May competition, the theme for which was "Buried". tessa eydmannLondoner Tessa works as a communications officer. A role she finds challenging although she feels lucky to be writing for a living. After some busy years, Tessa explains that her fiction took a back step, but, as she admits, she finds writing exciting and it it keeps her sane. Txtlit was her first step back into writing. She tells us that she has always enjoyed the stories and is fascinated how writers can squeeze a whole slice of life into just a few words. Tessa has even spent more time on one Txtlit story than she has on a two page article. Txtlit has also given Tessa another great bonus. She's been published in erotic magazines in the past, so has always used a pen name for the sake of her day job! This is the first time in years that she's been able to sign her fiction with her own name. 

We had a very positive reponse for this competition. There was clearly something about the theme of buried that inspired you all to write an entry. After nearly seven years of Txtlit we still sometimes can't explain what competition themes will promote a good response. Many of you looked for different ways to use the theme in your story. We had quite a few entries where someone had been buried alive, and like Tessa's entry we had a number of entries where the burying was more abstract. Tessa's story really managed to draw us in. We feel engaged from the outset; each sentence gives a little more away but intrigues us further at the same time. The final few words reveal that we are with an old woman lost in memories, and although it's not a plot twist like some stories we have had, there is an "Aha!" moment when we realise what is going on and everything makes sense. Uncomplicated bur effective.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

My past is buried in layers of deceit and denial; brutally pressing on my putrid soul. I remember the trains, chambers and incinerators. Victims haunt me.

By Mark A. King   

Angela smiled cruelly. She'd told her ex-husband Graham that she wanted to bury the hatchet and she had. Right in his back!

By Chad Elliot  

It took ages last time but I'd found an air pipe in the dark. He said next time he wouldn't be back for me. I've felt every inch now and there is no pipe.

By Teresa Elwell  

Her eyes shut before the story ended. 'Goodnight', I whisper as I kiss her forehead. In a sea of black, the tears flow. Silence falls. The coffin lowers.

By Emma Hodges


April Competition: Theme - America Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

It happened in the diner. By the time I saw the knife it was too late. Thick red liquid oozed out. I felt sick.  I'd said apple pie,  not cherry!

Congratulations to Rachel Smeeth who wins the April Txtlit competition. Rachel tells us that Rachel Smeeth she's always had a passion for comedy.  In her 20’s she spent a couple of years moonlighting as a stand-up comedian on the London circuit, which is where she learned how to be extremely economical with her words.  Now, at 43, she admits to not missing traipsing around from one smokey pub to another, bue she deso miss the kick she used to get out of writing stuff that makes people happy.  Since having children Rachel has kept her creative juices flowing by always having a project on the go: whether it’s writing scripts and sketches, or working on ideas for children’s books. She goes on to say hw she really enjoyed the challenge of putting her story together for the Txtlit competition and was thrilled when to have won. 

The theme of America certainly seemed to get your creativity revved up and gave us lots of originality in your stories to consider. We finally went with this somewhat light-hearted entry from Rachel Smeeth because, despite the obviously humorous side, it manages to encapsulate so much of America whilst still giving us a fully developed story that includes tension, keeps us engaged and finishes with a lovely twist. The opening sentence sets the scene. We know something has happened and we can imagine being in a diner because we've all seen one on TV or we've actually been in one. Things so often happen in diners don't they. A knife is introduced, and a sense of urgency; "it was too late". Yes, a knife, in the diner. All perfect cliché to draw us in. And thick red liquid oozing... someone has been stabbed and it's made me feel ill. But no! We're treated to a delightful twist. We've been served the wrong pie! Either apple or cherry, so clearly American. We hope you'll excuse the Americanism but, nice job!


Other Shortlisted Entries:

The child stood quivering as the teacher yelled "You WILL do this! Sing it again!" A shaky voice replied "The land of the free and the home of the brave".

By Paul Gledhill   

My house is gone. My wife, my children, lost in the war against Vegas. My last dollar sits cold in my right palm. Red or black? Today's my lucky day...

By Robbie Orr  

She looked through the airplane window and there it was: America. With its glittering lights and endless highways. And she was leaving it all behind.

By Georgina Miller  


March Competition: Theme - "That's the Ticket!" Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Her grin lights up the world with every wavering step, hands hovering over the rails. She reaches for his but he steps back. 'That's the ticket,' he says.

March's competition winner is Meg Massey from London. Meg is very excited to have won theMeg Massey competition having only been entering since discovering Txtlit in December, and she is finds it quite addictive. She admits to usually being a rambler in her writing and so finds the competitions a huge challenge, although an excellent exercise in creating great imagery as well as being precise and to the point. Meg tells us that one thing that stands out for her about all the winning entries on the website is the immediate visual image of a situation that they create. It may not be a long moment, but it's a moment that gives the reader all they need to know. Meg has been writing for years but is as yet unpublished, however she is determined to ultimately make it her career. She lives a very busy life in London, and usually write in quite a cynical voice but explains that thankfully, for the Txtlit competition, she I managed to conjure up something resembling positivity.

We received a relatively low number of entries for our March competition. Admittedly, the theme of "That's the Ticket!" was a little unusual, but it meant a better chance of winning for those who made the effort.  We expected to provoke some interesting stories and it certainly seemed as though a great deal of thought had gone into the content of many of your entries. Although we presented the theme of "That's the Ticket!" as a catchphrase, it didn't necessarily have to be used in that way, and from your entries we could see that was understood.  Meg Massey's winning entry did use the theme in it's catchphrase form, although it didn't score any more highly because of this; we simply liked her story the best. Her story is difficult to fully comprehend in just one reading. Something must be good as our main character has a huge grin and we eventually work out that she is obviously learning to walk again, after an accident perhaps. Or maybe it's for the first time and she has never been able to walk before. She takes tentative steps and we are invited to imagine her letting go of her supporting rails and reaching for the hands of someone who is teaching or rehabilitating her. The theme, "That's the Ticket!" are his words of encouragement as she succeeds in what must be a momentous occasion. 


Other Shortlisted Entries:

The flat glistened with foil. She caught him crying into his final wrapper, and  knew he'd blown his wages on Wonka bars.

By Elaine Marie McKay  

She lay there, waiting for the darkness to consume her; she lay there, waiting for this hell to end. Death was her one saviour. Death was her only escape.

By Flora Hodson 

Hearing the results, she embraced him. "we're rich", she trilled! She mistook his silence for joy. Trembling, he felt for the money...still in his pocket!

By Alison Nuorto 


February 2014 Competition: Theme - Smile Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I'm glad her phone rang as we lowered you. You'd have liked it: you always were irreverent. I'm glad I wore a black veil. Or they'd have seen my smile.

Emily Lomax from Petersfield in Hampshire wins our February competition with this entry. Emily Lomax Emily is just 17 years old and is currently studying English literature, history, classics and art at sixth form college. She tells us that she loves writing in her spare (or often not spare) time and always has done, right from the 'Muriel the Mermaid' book that she co-wrote and illustrated with her dad when she was 5. We're sure you'll agree her more recent work is a little more sophisticated.

For the February competition, we set you the theme 'Smile'. We had a good range of story lines and it was interesting to see how the theme was used. For the majority of you it wasn't the main thread of the story but more of a trigger to tell your tale. All within the rules of course as the connections to the theme were quite clearly there. We decided on Emily's story as the winner because it tells a story beyond the words and is very well constructed. On the first reading, we are left a little confused by the opening sentence. Why would we be lowering anybody and what could that have to do with a phone ringing and who's phone is it? Of course we are led to deduce later in the story that we are at a funeral and it is the narrator's dead husband who is being lowered into his grave. We can all imagine the embarrassment if our own mobile phones were to ring at such a critical moment on so sombre an occasion; but through this we learn about the sort of person the deceased man was and what sort of relationship was held between him and his wife. We liked the repetition of "I'm glad" which cleverly balances the story and gives it a tempo. The final sentence, which connects to the theme, tells us that despite the sad occasion, many happy memories linger. Quite moving.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

They had spent a wonderful night together. She couldn't help but smile at him across the room; as he danced with her best friend ..... his wife.

By Sabah Babu  

There I stood. I was ready to jump; ready to end my life. I turned my face to take one last look at life. There she stood, smiling. That smile saved me.

By Flora Hodson 

He would only meet her at night, but the dark handsome man was so charming she couldn't resist. It wasn't until he smiled that she finally saw the danger.

By Chad Elliot 


January 2014 Competition: Theme - Hello Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

He was so frail; less than a shadow. The wasted years hung between us like broken promises. This hello was more painful than any goodbye I had ever known.

Our first competition of 2014 is won with this entry from Alison V King of Cardiff.  Twenty-eight yearAlison V King old Alison has been writing for as long as she can remember. After discovering Txtlit.co.uk in December she was really proud to be a runner up with her first attempt. She goes on to tell us how Micro-fiction fascinates her and whilst a lot of people dismiss it, she admits that it's actually very difficult to tell a complete story in so few characters. "You want a beginning, a middle and an end, you want your reader to be emotionally invested, you want characters people will care about and you want every word to matter." Well put Alison! Despite the frustration it brings, Alison finds herself constantly compelled to try.

The theme for January's competition was 'Hello', and whilst the meaning of the word was applied similalry amonst the vast majority of entries, we saw a good range of diversity in the plots and storylines. Alison's story idea wasn't unique; quite a few of you used the idea of a reunion as the basis of your story, where perhaps "hello" doesn't seem to be the most appropriate greeting. However we felt Alison's story conjured the most emotion and excercised the best use of language. The introductory phrase speaks volumes and immediatey draws us in to discover more. "less than a shadow" is so thoroughly descriptive of both the subject's physical condition and his persona. The middle sentence, referencing the wasted years tells us just enough to undertsand the situation and Alison uses a technique we have seen before in Txtlit stories where the description, here 'like broken promises', is used to double effect. To illustrate the situation and tell the story. We can deduce that the narrator is trying to reconcile with his or her father, who, now near death, has never fulfilled his role. Finally, we understand the tension as the meeting is compared to a parting, something we naturally expect to be emotionally charged and also tinged with sadness. The comparison of something totally opposite adds to the gravity. A great story.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

She smoothed the black dress over her hips, auburn hair gleaming, red nails and lips. Time to celebrate the transition. Goodbye to John, hello to Jocelyn.

By Rosemary Gemmel of Langbank, Scotland 

Lying in the road, used and thrown away. Lucy would never know what that first shy 'Hello' through a strange car window had cost her.

By Danielle Allen

She stares out at me from the screen, daring me. I hate this online dating thing. It's degrading. Yet my fingers type of their own accord. "Hello..."

By Jess Dixon 


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