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 2015 Competition

For November your competition theme is Fish. Write a story to this theme in just 154 characters which should be preceded by the word STORY and a space and then text to 82085. Cost £1+ 1 network text.

December 2015 Competition

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

If you run your own website or blog, a link to the website will help our search engine ranking too. Links from websites such as the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newtalent/opportunities/) are helping our rankings. We're currently on page 2 of Google for the search phrase "UK writing competitions" but more links to us from other sites will help us to rank higher, which will mean more visits to the website and so more competition entries, and therefor greater prize money.

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 - The Fly Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Today I live with purpose, today I love with urgency. Some lose time to changing winds, some to the allure of silken nets, but today I liv-SLAM! "Got it."

May's competition is won by Somerset Francis from Cullen in Banffshire. Originally Somerset Francis from London, Somerset is a sixteen-year-old student starting his last year at high school. He describes himself as your classic geeky nerd, obsessed with maths, science and fantasy, but has been drawn to the written word. Somerset says he's thrilled and frankly amazed to have won this month's Txtlit competition. It was his sister, Lydia who shares my love of writing, that recommended Txtlit to him a few weeks ago. His inspiration came when a fly, caught in a breeze, blew across the windscreen of the parked car he sat in. It clung to the wiper blades with its thin hair-legs, helpless and completely at the mercy of nature's whimsical harshness.

Our competition theme for May was a bit of an experiment on our part. We deliberately gave you a very perscriptive subject to write about to see how creative you could be with it in just 154 characters. We had some valiant attempts at writing about something other than an insect or the zip on a pair of trousers, and whilst we applaud the effort, the end results didn't quite cut it. We went for Somerset Francis's entry in the end because of its almost poetic feel, abruptly severed with a perfectly timed twist. Somerset's writing really breathes an air of optimisim and invincibility into the story; living with purpose and loving with urgency. And oh, our character is so unlike the others who fall foul of changing winds and spider webs. But them Slam!. A blunt twist. A straightforward story, well written with a twist that leaves a smile on your face.


Other shortlisted entries:

He crushed it slowly. A sigh of relief. The buzzing silenced, added the fly to the pile on the cell floor. If he couldn't have freedom neither could they.

By Jeffrey Rowlands


Unwanted awareness brings perception of my role. The oncoming danger is so slow to me that escape is easy. Seeing my future I chose to stay on the window.

By Ian Johnston 




April Competition: Theme - TheView Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

A concrete yard at dawn shouldn't bring tears, but it does. Finally I see its ordinary beauty. My reverie breaks as I'm guided to the impatient gallows.

Judgement Dave wins our April 2015 competition which had the theme of "The View"  Dave describes himself judgement_Daveas an IT contractor with a lifelong love of comedy and started performing stand-up in November 2010, usually as one of his characters of a German IT consultant, drunk Jesus and a dolphin in a 3-piece suit. He also writes topical comedy, and has had sketches, songs and gags performed around the country and on various podcasts and BBC Radio and he's been a winner in sitcom and humorous poetry competitions. More recently, illness has kept Dave from live performing so he's concentrated on writing. He tells us that when he's not doing something to do with comedy or writing, he likes to spend his free time procrastinating – though he never seems to get around to it. Dave only discovered the Txtlit competition in February 2015 and was thrilled to have an entry commended then. His wife thinks it's a miracle he wrote anything in just 154 characters. Dave explains that he wanted to move away from the obvious when writing his entry for this competition and tried to think what would make the beautiful seem sad or the mundane seem wonderful, adding that if you stop and really look at anything in the right frame of mind, it can look fantastic. For his story, the impending execution forces a man to finally appreciate this.

It's incredibly difficult, if not impossible to predict which themes are going to produce the best stories entered into our competitions. April's theme of The View was an extremely pleasant surprise. The quality of the writing and story ideas was outstanding, so well done to everyone who entered. So many of you were so close to the shortlist. Our winner, Judgement Dave, should feel especially pleased with himself for being selected as winner amongst such stiff competition. It was the concept behind Dave's story that clinched the win for him. The fact that only when we are put in situations of extreme stress or discomfort are we really able to appreciate even the simplest things for what they are and the beauty they possess. The story was beautifully written too. The opening sentence, simply punctuated, has an almost poetic rhythm. It also sets the scene as we ask why a concrete yard brings tears. A clever second sentence begins with "finally" which reveals an ambiguity when we read the last sentence and understand we are listening to a condemned man who is wringing every last drop of pleasure that he can from his last few moments of life. Great stuff.


Other shortlisted entries:

I smooth the contour of her cheek, ask her again to forgive me. She scowls, eyes dark and ruinous. I turn back to the canvas. She'll smile for me there.

By Eilish Norris  


Everything looks  different from up here, I don't feel myself. Is that my wife I can hear screaming ? And that man lying in the road looks just like me..

By Val Fish


She stretched her fingers towards London's snow-lined skies. What would she do first? Sightsee, shop? She took the globe and shook it. One day.

ByJotti Jetts



March 2015: Theme - Crime Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I watch them throw away good food, feeling anger at this crime against the world's starving. I am shamed and labelled thief for taking it from the bin.

Our March competition was won with this entry from Ian Johnston of Manchester. With the theme of crime, Ian JohnstonIan tells us that he mulled over the theme of crime as he was turning over his allotment, "like a proper Northerner". Pondering on how everyone should have access to some growing space his thoughts led him the imbalance of basic needs on our shared planet. Ian enters various short story competitions and is building up to longer writings, although he managed to complete NaNoWrimo last November which he describes as a marathon for him but most enjoyable. Ian enjoys Txtlit as he finds the restrictive nature teaches editing skills and brevity.

Writing a really good Txtlit story is tough. We make it even harder by running competitions which mean you are up against other writers in order to win recognition, and of course £50. Our March competition was made more difficult still by using a popular genre like crime, which we have used more than once previously, and asking you to be original whilst maintaining a clear link to the theme. Although we had a good response in terms of numbers of entries, for many, either the link to the theme was too tenuous or entries over-ran the character limit. The winning entry from Ian Johnston  however ticks all the boxes. Our protagonist sees good food being discarded and is incensed that this is happening when so many people in the world are starving. In his eyes such wastefulness is a crime and there is the link to the theme. However, for retrieving the food from the bin he is accused of theft and, unjust as it seems, here is where the real crime is committed. We don't know for sure but assume that the food is taken for his own consumption and he counts himself in the number of the world's starving. This makes his labelling of thief even more unjust.


Just one shortlisted entry this month:

DC Kay picked up the last evidence from the scene, put it in a bag, then his pocket. Getting home he threw it in the bin; then let out a sigh of relief!

By Paul Gledhill 

February 2015: Theme - Last Chance Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The money had run out: they had no more to sell. Another failure meant the end of the road. Anxiously, they waited. Finally: a heartbeat. Success.

This entry from Clare Suter wins or February competition, the theme for which was "Last Chance". Clare Clare Suter moved from London to Norfolk recently and admits that the thrill of overtaking tractors hasn't worn off yet. Clare has always loved writing, perticularly non fiction. Her favourite book is We Need To Talk About Kevin. Although she thinks it a bit of a strange choice, she loves the fact it really makes you think and almost blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Clare also enjoys trying new writing challenges - for example ghost writing or writing for a particular audience too. However Clare doesn't get much time to write at the moment as a result of running around after her cheeky toddler, hence why Txtlit is ideal for her.

Despite the potential for a lot of similarly themed stories, we had some excellent and diverse entries for this competition. Clearly the theme of Last Chance got your creative juices flowing and you really looked outside the box for what the last chance would relate to in your stories. This story from Clare Suter was selected as winner because of some excellent construction and timing. Knowing what the theme is, the opening line tells us that that the last chance in this case is related to money, which is exhausted. We are taken further still, there is nothing left to sell so we really have reached desperation. Still the tension builds. Another failure. Failure at or of what? The end of the road. Are we talking about a life or death situation? More tension as our protagonists wait anxiously and for the first time we know we are talking about two people; a couple. Finally the reveal. There is a heartbeat and we understand, after a moment's reflection, that this is the heartbeat of a child in the womb and this was the last chance to concieve via IVF for a childless couple. Clare chooses not to add an exclamation mark to the final word success, maybe because it depicts relief rather than excitement. A great story touchingly written.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

Shrunken. Frail. Wasting. Could he hear me? Did he know I was there? I had 8 years of words to say; not enough time. Only four mattered, "I love you dad."

By Lucy Brighton 

Behind the bars I'd heard them say this was my last chance. But now I feel the strap clip around my neck, my heart leaps. Today I run in the park again.

Awaiting Author's details 

Billionaire Edward Chance dies age 92 leaving no heirs to his fortune.  Ted clasped his birth certificate and grinned. Wrong!  There is one last Chance!

By Valerie Griffin 


And a clever one that made us smile...

I panic. Mere seconds left and no second chance. Devoid of inspiration; what to write? An idea hits me and I start to text 82805 and type "STORY I panic."

By Judgement Dave


January 2015 Competition: Theme - Broken Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The spell was well and truly broken, the truth revealed and the handsome prince she'd been kissing all these years exposed for the frog he really is.

Our first competition for 2015 is won by Aileen Shirra. This is the second win for Txtlit regular Aileen, Aileen Shirra who lives in central Scotland and works as a literacies development worker within a community learning and development team where she supports adults in developing their basic skills. Especially reading and writing. Aileen enjoys reading and all forms of writing, especially poetry and has had some of her work published. Her first collection ‘The Tumbrel of Time’ was published in 2013 by Thynks Publications and her first children’s collection will be published later this year. Aileen tells us that she finds Txtlit a lot of fun and that taking part can be done in any spare moment, which is great for busy people like her.

We gave you "broken" as the theme for the January competition and it resulted in some very deep  and dark entries. Stories about broken hearts featured highly and we also had a number of entries that were based upon breaking in a horse. All acceptable of course. We decided upon Aileen's story as the winner because we thought that the use of metaphor was an intriguing way to tell much of the story. We have often commented in the past how, when writing a story as restricted in length as a Txtlit story, much can be told through using a known character or event that does much of the telling in itself. Aileen has taken this a step further by using the story of the frog that turns into a prince. She has cleverly twisted it however and we can see that our main character has had a realisation that the man who she looked upon as her prince was nothing more than a lowly frog. Perhaps he had been unfaithful or had shown himself to be some rogue or other undesirable character. The breaking of the spell which is the illusion that our protagonist had been living under for years and which had kept her enchanted ties the whole story up into something that can possibly be described as an anti-fairytale. Clever.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

When the flood came they prayed he had broken out safely. Soon they glimpsed him. The fresh air tingled in his nose. Their newborn baby bawled.

By Josephine Eaton  

My resolve breaks when I see you. I promised myself last night that I'd end this poisonous thing but then you say the words I crave and my soul is yours.

By Rachel Williams 

Well - hadn't he promised her that was the last time ever? She grimaced as she pushed him off the cliff. A promise was a promise. She had kept hers.

By Patricia Cooney 


And we liked this one...

'Damn, it's not turning on.' Jenny shakes her phone, praying for some sign of life. 'How am I going to send off my January txtlit entries now?'

By Danielle Allen


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