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.
March 2015 Competition

The old favourite theme of Crime is your competition theme for March. To enter, text the word STORY & a space and then your crime story of 154 characters or less (giving 160 total) to 82085.

April 2015 Competition

We'll announce April's competition theme at the end of March. Come back to see what it will be and to check out the results of February'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.

October Competition: Theme - Crash Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Today I can drive away and briefly leave behind the trappings of fame. Today I am as fast as the wind. I am an icon. I am indestructible. I am James Dean.

'Crash' was your theme for October's competition which was won with this entry by 43 year old Teresa Elwell Teresa Elwell from Hayle in Cornwall. Teresa currently works as an office manager and tells us that she discovered the joy of writing when she was just 4 years old. She would copy out her Enid Blyton books word for word into exercise books just to experience the pure joy of writing. Ever since Teresa has been old enough, she has written her own short stories, poetry and made rough attempts at novels. This is the first competition that she has ever entered and her story will be the first time anything she has ever written has been read by other people. Teresa thought that the 154 character format would be easy, but admits it took her a while to hone down all the extraneous material to keep within the rules, though she found it a worthwhile exercise in shaving down her writing to the bare bones. Writing a short story in miniature made her think hard about the structure of her sentences.

The interpretation in your entries of the theme 'Crash' for the October competition wasn't as diverse as we expected. With a few exceptions relating to computers, drugs and the stock market, most entries were about car or plane crashes. However, we were not disappointed. The range of storylines and plots arising from those crashes was very wide and gave us plenty to deliberate over. We went for XXX's story in the end for a number of reasons. To start with, it is a beautifully flowing piece of prose. The syllables of the words in each sentence give it rhythmic beat that makes it very easy to read, and each sentence knits with the next seamlessly. The language is uncomplicated but very upbeat and descriptive and the reader is totally immersed in the feelgood sentiment of the story, right down to the feeling of indestructibility. The first person viewpoint adds an air of confidence, as well as being an economical use of characters. Finally, most of us will know who the narrator is as soon as we read is name, and with it, we know the outcome; brilliantly connected to the theme without actually mentioning the word. A great story that can be read over and over.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

As he stepped out of his Manhattan office window, he thought of his family, now poor, and prayed they would forgive his failure, weakness and shame.

By Chad Elliott 

He arrived early to delete the file. No one need ever know. IT were there already. "Epic system fail. Whoever saved that file can kiss their job bye bye."

By Mandii Parton

A driver over the limit, racing to escape their pursuers,with no seat belts they had no chance.  A princess and her lover, two lives tragically cut short.

By Val Fish


September Competition: Theme - Crime Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

"The policeman trusted his killer," the officer said. "Yes, they did," the detective said and drew the familiar weapon from his pocket, "Too much."

September's "Crime" themed competition was won with this effort by Casey Bourne from Casey Bourne Corsham in Wiltshire. Casey is currently studying for her MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her focus is on science fiction realism but she also writes poetry, memoir and short stories. This was Casey's first time submission to Txtlit and she tels us how she struggles to recall the last time (if ever) she wrote crime fiction. She goes on to say how she loves the short form, and found that Txtlit was something to challenge that even further. Casey knew she wanted to write a conversation. but of course the 154 character limit includes speech marks making it very tight for words. She admits it took her several attempts to make sure that the short dialogue and brief actions hinted enough at the murder plot but she finally found a combination that seemed to have worked. Clearly.

Crime is one of the most popular genres for fiction, so we knew we could expect a good response for this month's competition. We weren't dissapointed with the range of ideas either, with many of you trying very hard to interpret the theme in an original way. Casey Bourne's story is more of a traditional crime story and we deceided on this as the winner because Casey manages to set the crime scene, solve the mystery, add a twist and leave the story open ended and begging for a sequal. At the outset we discover a policeman has been murdered another officer is discussing the case with his superior, a detective. Just as we have got to grips with this, the detective immediatley turns out to be the killer who is about to replicate the crime and turn it full circle. Whilst we feel that there was some room for improvement in the language that was used, we felt that the structure and idea of the story made it a worthy winner. 


Other Shortlisted Entries:

Nobody was meant to get hurt, but they got caught in the crossfire.  Poor innocent children. Our only crime was to fall in love.

By Val Fish 

A knife glinted in the moonlight. Cornered by bookcases, I screamed. "Was it Miss Scarlet, with the dagger, in the library?"

By Katharine Breeze

The NaCl had been stolen. In its place his housemate's note said "Elementary!" He shook his head. Chemistry student puns were even worse than bland food.

By Jane Cooper


August Competition: Theme - Black Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The quiver of excitement as I sense my time is near. Release me with closed eyes. In your darkness I will be there, growing, feeding. I am your nightmare.

Well done to our August competition winner Andrew Mullet-Merrick who takes the prize with this entry. Andrew Andrew Mullet-Marrickworks as a foundry manager near his home in Brightlingsea in Essex, where he also takes care of his elderley mum. Andrew has always loved literature but only dreamt of following it as a career after failing miserably at school where he struggled with dyslexia. Last year however, he started to write a short poem and found it so enjoyable he couldn't stop. He's written a first novel and started the second, but up until now he's not considered that it would ever be good enough to publish. He tells us that thanks to winning our Txtlit competition he's changed his mind, so look out world! Well at least keep an eye out... you never know. In the mean time, Andrew will carry on with his job as a foundry manager. Let's hope Txtlit gets a mention when he makes it big.

Wow! We had an excellent response for the August Txtlit competition in terms of both volume and quality of entries. We deliberated long and hard to come up with the winner and shortlisted entries but there were many more that very nearly made it; so congratulations to everyone who entered for such a high standard all round. We decided on Andrew Mullet-Merrick's story as the winner in the end because of its excellent construction, great use of language and implied sense of sinister suspense. The "quiver of excitement" that the story opens with beautifully captures the sense of expectation that we have probably all experienced when something we relish nears. Those few moments before stepping on to a rollercoaster perhaps or the seconds before the first mouthful of our favourite food. The second sentence is perfect, not only in the words that deliver the message, but in the meter and tempo too. Andrew manages to personalise the drama of the story by referring to "your darkness", impressing upon the reader an air of violation. Use of the words "growing" and "feeding" really get under the skin and add to the menace. The reveal of the narrator being your nightmare makes sense of everything we have read thus far, and though obvious in a way, doesn't diminish the creepy feeling. A great story and well deserved winner.


Other Shortlisted Entries:

"They'll never hold," one said. "They're cheaper," said another. Now my family's incomplete. My father's tomb: a mass grave below a thousand tons of coal.

By Tim Bodicoat 

As I fall into the endless gloom of the black hole, I stare in disbelief at the safety clip in my hands. Thirty years of NASA training. One silly mistake.

By Chris Redfern

Targeted; disliked, unwanted and denied a chance. Stripped bare, singled out and callously discarded. It's awful being the bit of liquorice in the middle.

By Michaela Barry 

It was black and white: break or fail. The brick thought itself tough until it met my fist. It broke. My knuckles merely bruised; as black as my new belt.

By Alexander Milne


July Competition: Theme - Heat Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The Greek isle lay below me now. I was so high I could kiss the sun. Suddenly there were feathers!!! In the heat of the moment I'd forgotten his warning.

Our congratulations for winning July's Txtlit competition go to Ian Richardson from Carnoustie in Scotland. Ian Rchardson60 year old Ian tells us that news of winning the July competition added an extra glow to his August holiday. He admits to being concerned that the need to strip creative writing to the bone when writing a Txtlit story may have left the reference to Icarus undetectable. Ian has invited all visitors to txtlit.co.uk to read a longer work of his. ‘The Uchronie.’ - is available free at Jukepop Serials - and has, so far, gathered over 500 votes.  Follow this link to find it http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/105

Ian has used the now, well established technique when entering a Txtlit competition of using a well known character to partly tell the story. Here, Ian has used the character of Icarus, who escaped from imprisonment with the help of wings of wax and feathers made by his father. Interestingly, this is not the first time that Icarus has been the character of a Txtlit story and this was not the only entry for July's competition that used him as a character. It was how Ian gave us just enough clues to be able to make sense of the story that won us over however. The opening sentence gives us a location, but being high enough to kiss the sun could have a number of different meanings and so urges us to read on to discover more. The third sentence tells us so much in just a few words and changes the mood dramatically. Now we are beginning to understand who we are talking about and what is happening and finally all is confirmed when we realise that our character is Icarus and has forgotten his father's warning not to fly too close to the sun as the heat would melt the wax in his wings. The use of the word 'heat' in the final sentence in a different connotation to the storyline also adds an extra dimension. NB. In awarding this entry the win, we chose to forgive the excessive use of screamers; "!!!".


(PS. We received an e-mail from a Txtlit fan who informs us that the use of the three exclamation marks are synonymous with the symbol for The Prince of Wales feathers. A nuance of Ian Richardson's story we clearly missed and about whch we are delighted to be educated.)


Other Shortlisted Entries:

Her flesh began to burn as the radiation penetrated her skin. Her body lay naked and abused; a victim of her own addiction. What a price to pay for a tan!

By Emma Hodges

I broke into my son's room, but he was gone. The fit had left just a twisted corpse, a thing bereft of fear and joy but for life's heat fading from flesh.

By Alexander Milne


Polyester catches so quickly. I felt the heat of it as I backed into the shadows. The door opened and I heard him swearing as he ran over. This was fun.

By Siobhan Kielty 


June 2013 Competition: Theme - Time Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

"What have you done to me?" She stared at her mirror, pointing out the wrinkles on her face. The only answer came from the clock behind her: "Tick-Tock."

Well done to 19 year old Adrien De Palmas from Plymouth who wins June's Txtlit competition, the Adrien De-Palmastheme for which was "Time". Adrien is currently studying Economics and Finance at the University of Exeter and says that even though his degree is mainly focused on maths, it's short stories that he really enjoys writing during his spare time. Adrien like reading all sorts of books, but thrillers remain his favourite. And he's a big cinema and music fan.

This was a great competition with some excellent entries. The quality continues to go up and up, both in the writing and in the creativity of the stories. We finally settled on Adrien's story as the winner for June because of it's excellent construction and it's clever linking to the theme. The opening sentence immediatley draws us in. Who is this character and what has happened to her. As we learn she is looking at her own reflection we wonder what fate has befallen her. Is she the victim of an attack or has a cosmetic surgery operation gone horribly wrong? Then we learn of the wrinkles. The response to her question finally comes and we even feel a sense of tension building as we are told that it's a clock that has the answer. Finishing the story with a simple "Tick-Tock" says so much and wraps the story up beatifully. A great story. 

Other Shortlisted Entries:

I won't let her humiliate me again. I'm going to DESTROY her. She won't know what's hit her. 'Time please, ladies.' First, I need to hold serve.

By Anushka Rasiah

Smart phone, papers and laptop secured in a case; He asks her what gift she most would like on his return. She points at his watch,"Just your time Daddy."

By Michelle Minniss  


I undo the gold bow. It slips from the crimson. Unwrapped. Timing is all. Tassels sway. I feel the power of my soft flesh enjoying the Art of Burlesque.

By Elaine Marie McKay  

And we thought this one deserved a mention for effort...

Standing here cooking, I reach for the seasoning and ponder this months txtlit theme. But what to write.....erm......erm.....Oh damn I'm out of thyme..

Awaiting author's details


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