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 2015 Competition
July's compeition theme is "Out of Control". Who or what will be out of control in your story? Write it up in 154 characters or less, precede it with the word STORY & send it as a text to 82085
August 2015 Competition
August's competition theme will be announced at the end of July. Come back to see what it will be and to see the results of June'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.

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December Competition: Theme - Best Friends Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I wait to sink into nothingness. I cannot betray him, it wasn't me but I have to take a bullet for him. Blood brothers in life and death.

Jeffrey Rowlands wins December's competition with this entry, and he also makes the runners up list with Jeffrey Rowlands a second entry.  This is Jeffrey's second win. His first came nearly 2 years ago. Jeffrey tells us he was surprised but pleased to hear that he had won the Txltit competiton for December. Since winning in 2013 he has been concentrating on shorter, short stories and he's hoping this is a sign of improvement that has certainly given him encouragement.

"Best Friends" was your competition theme for December and we had a good range of interesting entries. We were quite surprised however that many of you chose to use the concept of a best friendship ending as the premise for your stories. Not that there is anything wrong with that in particular, but perhaps the dark winter nights have influenced you to think in a more negative way. It could be said that the winning entry from Jeff Rowlands has an edge of darkness to it, with death playing a major part. The opening sentence sets a dark scene. We are clearly set to anticipate something bad and Jeff makes great use of character count here, saying so much in just a few words. Use of the first person saves more characters and keeps the story in the present, adding tension. As we read on, we learn that our protagonist is in quite a dilemma. He's not to blame for whatever has put him there but he is unable to betray "him". Blood brothers describes a deep friendship and this is one so strong it has endured the ultimate sacrifice.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

We held each other up. The one I relied on. Arm round my shoulder, a warm flush, my vision swam. Slurring, she cried, "Drinks! What you having, bezzie?"

By Emma Kirkby 

I never thought I would commit murder, but you were asking for it. I have no regret, no remorse. I would do it again. My best friend, now free from pain.

By Karen Francis 

My heart is warmed by you. My body sings, delights at your touch. Looking at your oh so familiar label, I know that we'll be together until the end.

Also by Jeff Rowlands  


November Competition: Theme - The Source Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Docs say it's a blood disorder; a virus from the Carpathians. Asleep all day, awake at night. Did I fall and chip a tooth? Its sharp edge catches my lip.

Our November competition theme was "The Source" and Rob Martin wins for the second time with this entry. Rob Martin Since winning Txtlit in November 2012, Rob has changed professions and now works for the pharmacy department in a local hospital in Plymouth. The kid's novel that he was working on two years ago is finally finished and undergoing some polishing in order to get agents and publishers to read it. Rob has a new novel starting to take shape too, although he admits he needs to work on his procrastination problem! Rob tells us how he really enjoyed this month's competition, and looked deep for an interesting take on  the theme of "the source." After writing elaborate prose in his novel for so long, he found that writing evocatively with so few words was a great challenge.

We received quite a low number of entries for our November competition. Either you were all busy Christmas shopping, or you weren't inspired enough by the theme of "The Source". Quite a high proportion of entries deliberately confused the word source with sauce as the premise behind their stories, and the best example of this can be seen in the runners up entries. Rob Martin, however clearly found inspiration for his winning entry. To fully understand the story, you have to know who the Carpathians were, or are.  A quick internet search will lead you to descriptions of a fictional race who survive by drinking the blood of humans. Our protagonist is unwell and has consulted doctors; the source of his illness is a virus of Carpathian origin. The virus makes him sleep all day and keeps him awake at night. And why has his tooth developed a sharp edge upon which he catches his lip? If you don't get it, we won't spoil it for you. Having to do your own research about the Carpathians treat you with an aha! moment to embellish the pleasure from this most subtle of Txtlit stories. Excellent work Rob, a real masterclass in subtlety.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

The shiny gaze of money, hypnotizing all who look at it, is in truth, as much the source of evil as good. Like a gun it depends who is holding it?

By Julie-Ann Dunbar 

Miles Danish, owner and editor of The Source magazine, has announced that he and his staff are baffled as to where the allegations have come from.

By Valerie Griffin  

As the Research Centre fell and the pandemic claimed its final victims, Ned looked at his stockpile of PiriPiri and realised his damning misunderstanding.

By Dave Harris  


October Competition: Theme - The Letter Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

My letter says to you what I cannot. My heart lay bare in ink. The flame sparks, the amber glow engulf my words, replacing them with undeclared embers.

Andrea Hayward wins Txtlit for the third time with is entry for our October competition which had the Andrea Haywardtheme "The Letter". Andrea tells us how pleased she was when she heard that she had won Txtlit again, despite not having done any writing for a long time. She decided in the summer however to get back to it and of course turned to the short but challenging format of Txtlit to find some inspiration.

We had some really great entries for our October competition which had the theme of "The Letter". Whilst the theme itself may have been fairly limiting, the contents of a letter can be so diverse and mean so many different things to different people that we didn't have any duplication of ideas amongst the entries. Not a first for Txtlit but certainly a rarity. Of course we have a number of entries that used the letter theme to write a story in the sense of an alphabetical character, and that's perfectly acceptable. We've chosen one of these entries as a runner up. Andrea Hayward's entry was selected as the winner because we felt fully immerse in the story. quite a feat for a piece of literature of just 151 characters including the spaces. A tale of unrequited love, our protagonist finds the strength to tell the one he (or she) loves in a letter. "My heart lay bare ink" is so eloquent and tells us so much. But no, he has written the words but can't bring himself to share them and so casts them into the fire, never to be revealed, so brilliantly described as "undeclared embers". Andrea was also one of the few entrants that wrote of a letter that was written rather than one that was received. A great entry on many levels.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

He knows all of their well-guarded secrets. He has always read all of them before delivery. But today there's a bullet in the envelope. And it's for him.

By Adrien De Palmas  

The letterbox clattered. I opened the envelope. "FINAL DEMAND," it screamed at me. I hid it with the others, hoping it would magically disappear.

By Tim Jones   

Still homeless, he saw the sign TO LET and went inside. What a dump, it was dark and it smelled. As he left he noticed the fallen letter "I" on the floor.

By Sylvia Fairley  


September Competition: Theme - The Ship Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Their course had taken the battleship far out to sea, away from the others. Suddenly, without warning, the craft was struck by a giant red peg. "Hit!"

Persistence has definitley paid off for Chad Elliot who wins our September competition after a number of Chad Elliotrunner-up places over the last 12 months. Chad describes himself as an American living in England and resides in Bristol. He has had success as a comedy writer, published in Viz Comic, Cracked Magazine and Weekly World News, to name a few. Chad is a big fan of old TV shows, classic films, great books, good gin, long walks for inspiration, and his wonderful wife Anne. Despite his successes, Chad admits to feeling he lives a substitute life, "like most writers/artists." But he also finds Txtlit great fun.

The theme for the September competition was "The Ship". At first this may have appeared a little restrictive, but we were delighted with the effort everybody put in to come up with such wide ranging interpretations as we received. Whilst the response was a little less than we usually expect, the quality of writing was very high. We settled on Chad Elliot's entry as the winner which contained some classic Txtlit story construction. We know everything in the opening sentence. A warship is far out at sea and for some reason has been given a special course which means they alone and separated from the fleet. They should be isolated and undetectable but suddenly there is an attack and the ship is hit. But it's not real. It's just a game of Battleships. The "missile" is a red peg that denotes the hit and we realise it was a tactical move to place the ship away from the others in order to mislead the opposition. A tactic that failed. An uncomplicated story in essence, but one that drew us in entirely and we really couldn't resist such an excellently executed twist.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

There's a chill on the air. Thick fog has already masked me, and my prey. The tall black sails are barely visible in the gloom. My time is now. I strike.

By Natalie Brown   

The ship swamped by wave after huge wave, listed badly. Drenched, the children with arms outstretched, waited for mum to lift them out of the soapy water.

By Angela Greenwood  

They'd said not to touch the control panel but she thought she'd polish it for the astronauts. Pam clung to her mop and pail as she floated off the deck.

By Marianne Paget 


August Competition: Theme - The Other Side Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

They barged past, trip-trapped to where the grass is greener and tucked in. Only it was hemlock. Deadly. I tried to warn them, but who listens to a troll?

Runner-up from last month's competition Laura Bridge goes one better to win August's competition with thisLaura Bridge entry. Laura, 38, lives in Bath with her husband and two young sons. She has been teaching primary children for ten years and in 2012 she completed a Masters degree in Education with Children’s Literature focus.  Laura tells us that she is interested in all children’s fiction from picture books through middle grade to young adult and that recent favourites include Clare Furniss (The Year of the Rat) and R.J Palacio (Wonder).  Accepted as a member of the Golden Egg Academy for 'promising children’s writers', Laura is not teaching this year in order to spend more time with her children and to dedicate more time to writing. Txtlit is the first writing competition Laura has won so taking time out is already paying off.

The theme for August of "the other side" brought out some interesting concepts from you, particularly of where we come across the other side in everyday situations but may not think of it as such. Perhaps predictably we had a number of entries referring to the other side in a spiritual way and also a number that referred to the grass being greener on the other side which was the idea used by this month's winner, Laura Bridge. Although it wasn't an entirely original idea, Laura has managed to put a twist on an established fairy tale and make it entertaining and compelling. We are teased a little early on and given a clue as to what may be when 'they' 'trip-trap'. No mention of a bridge though which maintains the mystery. The proverbial 'grass is always greener' comes into play and to deadly effect as we are told it's actually hemlock they are eating. The final line reveals all brilliantly. Not only do we discover that this is a re-telling of the Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale, but that actually the troll had being trying to stop them crossing the bridge for their own safety. It seems we may have had trolls wrong all along.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

The boy ran away as she looked at the bit of paper he'd given her; a receipt. She threw it in the bin, never seeing the message on the other side, 'help'.

By Rachel Ireland   

When his only son crossed over the grief was unbearable. But time is a healer. Now Tim was used to seeing Ben in the opposite stand, cheering for United.

By Chloe Banks   

And this one made us laugh out loud.

When Derek asked me out on a date after the cricket match, I don't think he quite understood my reluctance when I said I batted for the other side!

By Sharon Dexter  


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