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.
 
September 2014 Competition

For September your theme is "The Ship". Any ship or any type of ship you like. Just write a story in 154 characters or less, precede it with the word STORY and a space and text it to 82085

October 2014 Competition

October's theme will be posted at the end of September. Come back to find out what it will be and to see the results for August.

 

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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.



June 2012 Competition: Theme - The Toy Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

It sprung and nipped my hands. It was the most enchanting toy ever. Procrastination poisoned my mind as the elastic band grew fascinating forevermore.



Congratulations to Helen Stewart from Perthshire, Scotland who wins our June Competition. Helen StewartHelen, who lives on a farm outside Pitlochry tells us she is passionate about the arts. She loves writing creatively and painting just as a getaway from everyday life. Currently Helen is waiting nervously for her Higher exam results so she has welcomed the opportunity to be able to relax whilst remaining constructive. Writing has always meant a lot to Helen and it came as a complete surprise to find she had won her first competition whcih she finds very encouraging and has confirmed her hopes of studying English in the future.

 

We had a lot of high quality and diverse entries for June which made the judging decision that much more difficult, but we settled on this entry by Helen Stewart as the worthy winner. This story is an excellent construction. The first sentence gives us plenty to draw us in and raise our curiosity whilst giving nothing away. We learn a little more in the second sentence and the word 'enchanting' is well placed and throws a further dimension into the story as we wait to learn what the toy is. 'Procrastination poisoned my mind' is a terrific phrase, and when it's revealed that the protagonist is merely fiddling with an elastic band we are filled with empathy. Who hasn't been spontaneously enthralled by the most insignificant of objects and become lost in playing, pushing whatever it was we should have been doing away to the side. Nice use of alliteration too. It's good to see that literary devices can still be incorporated in such a short piece of work like a Txtlit story.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


The blow sent him flying. He hid in a ditch, but was caught and brought back for more punishment. How he dreaded those words: "Rolo, fetch the ball!"

By Doreen Doherty 


God gazed down on the Earth and raised the temperature by a few more degrees. He loved the humans and their self-important ideas about 'global warming'.

By By David Bradshaw from Bolton 


'Open it', said the Wizard handing him the small box. 'Why can't you do it?' asked Max. 'Because it has to be a child, go on there might be a toy inside.'

By Sally Armstrong

And the best of the stories with an adult flavour...

She'd bought the present herself, she had to  do everything for herself these days. Licking her lips in anticipation, she unwrapped her Rampant Rabbit.

By Val Fish from Peterborough

 

 

 



 

 
May 2012 Competition: Theme - The Final Straw Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Porky put the finishing touches to his house. His brothers had been fools to stick to boring wood or brick; this was much better. Mr. Wolf thought so too.



Congratulations for her second Txtlit competition win to Chloe Banks from Devon. Chloe last wonChloe Banks back in March 2009 and has had a few runners up entries since then. 25 year old Chloe tells us that Txtlit was the first writing competition she ever won. Since then she has been concentrating on writing more and more has won a handful of other competitions - both flash fiction and full short stories. She now spends most of her time writing and has written a children's novel which she is trying to get published (along with most of the rest of the world it seems!) and is currently working on a novel for adults. She enjoys the different challenges different length fiction provides and loves the way Txtlit is so different from writing a novel, making you, asChloe puts it, think about things sideways! She loves to talk to other writers and has a blog for this purpose: madebythepotter.blogspot.co.uk . She also has a website wordsyourway.co.uk   

 

May's winning entry from Chloe Banks employs a a technique we haven't seen for a while which is to use a character or characters we already know to tell part of the story. Here of course, the story of the Three Little Pigs has been used, which is probably known by just about everybody, and gives us our background. As the story plays out we are able to work out the who Porky is and by process of elimination that his is the house of straw. We know the conclusion, but this is merely alluded to in the final sentence when the wolf's character is introduced, and which also gives the story away if you haven't already got it by now. We like the way this story works as a story within a story as what we are actually being told about is one pig's arrogance in thinking he knows best but will tragically proved to be be wrong. We also liked how the story related to the competition theme as the finishing touches to a house of straw would indeed be the final straw. Nicely done.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


The dynasty is over. The empire in ruins, no heir apparent, in the end police found the bodies in the basement. A gun sounds, suicide for James Straw.

By Joseff Morgan  


Sam drew the final straw. It was the smallest. The others breathed a sigh of relief. Sam knew this would handicap him in the drinking contest.

By Angela Greenwood 


Camel lay dejected on the sand as the vets hurried round him with a spinal board. "I did warn them this would happen," he said. "They never listen."

Aslo by Chloe Banks, Devon

 

 

 



 

 
April Competiiton - Theme: Blue Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

As she stared into his deep blue eyes, she knew that he was 'the one.' Identity parade over, she then left the police station.



The winner of our April competition is Helen Keeling from Hook, Hampsire. A statistician by day, Helen_Keelingoutside of work Helen is an avid sports fan, enjoying a range of different activities - the more extreme the better. She fuses her love of sport with her love of writing and writes for a number of well-known sports magazines. She also enjoys having a dabble at creative writing and is thrilled to have won this month's Txtlit competition. We caught Helen at a very busy time - she's currently attempting to both move house and plan a warship wedding, whilst also trying to spend as much time as possible with her newborn baby nephew, Harry.  

 

A simple story with a simple twist from Helen Keeling wins our April competition, the theme for which was 'Blue.' We didn't mind how you used the theme in your entries, provided your story mentioned or alluded to it. Some of you even chose Smurfs as your Blue reference. In Helen's story it is the deep blue eyes that our protaganist stares into that is the link. Through cliche, Helen leads us to believe that her protaganist is staring longingly into the eyes of a loved one or of someone whom she believes to be her perfect match. We realise however that the eyes belong to the perpetrator of a crime, and this is on fact an identity parade. We do not know the crime, but as  our protaganist has too look into the eyes of the perpetrator to identify him, there is a sinister feel to what it might be. The final few words regarding the police station are somewhat superfluous as the the reveal of the identity parade is sufficient, but otherwise a classic Txtlit story.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


Undressing that evening, my wife joked that the decorator 'looked like a Smurf when he was done'. That's when I saw the blue thumbprint on her bra strap.

By Kevin Mannion  


Our science teacher drops her scalpel and clutches the desk. The blood oozing from the dissected frog is not red. This prince never got kissed.

By Lorna Wilkinson 


"If that really is your favourite colour, then I have just the football club for you Mr Abramovich".

By Chris Wilson

 

 

 



 

 
March 2012 Competition: Theme - Continue "So what's it going to be then eh?" Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

'What's it going to be then eh?' The vials gleamed, poison and antidote indistinguishable. Head pounding, stomach twisting, sweat dripping, she sealed her fate. 'Two tequilas!'



Congratulations to Joanna Thompson from Bouroughbridge in North Yorkshire who wins ourJoanna Thompson March competition. Joanna is just 18 years old and is currently studying for her A-levels. She plans to go to the University of East Anglia next year to study English Literature and Creative Writing. Joanna has entered our Txtlit competitions several times and has previously had a shortlisted entry in November 2010, but tells us how excited she is to have won. She finds writing very competitive and so winning our March competition has reassured her that she is not completely unsuited to her course for next year. Joanna tells us that she likes the accessibility of Txtlit so we're look forward to more entries from her whilst she's away at university.

  

March's competition was one of our 'continue' type competitions where we ask you to continue the opening line from a famous novel. On this occasion we asked you to continue the opening line from A Clockwork Orange. To remind you, the opening line is merely a platform from which to launch your story and we encourage originality and creativity thereafter. We like Joanna Thompson's entry best because it had our attention immediately as we are thrown into a dilemma. Clearly a choice is to be made that could be the difference between life and death. As we read on we discover that our protagonist is already in some discomfort and has to make the right choice to save herself. Has she already taken some poison and now has to choose the antidote? What if she makes the wrong choice...? But no. The "Two Tequilas" reveal that we are looking at a hair of the dog. The fact that the Tequila is both poison and antidote in this story is cleverly applied, and we're treated to a classic twist. Well done Joanna.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


'What's it going to be then eh?' She shivered in the cold, contemplating the thought of what was to come. Slowly, she slid into the car. She didn't look at him as they drove in the dark.

Awaiting Author's details  


'What's it going to be then eh?' 'Take the money and run? Or stick it out, fight, and risk losing everything.' 'Fight. All the way' she said and picked up the phone to her solicitor.

By Debbie Thomas 


'What's it going to be then eh?' came the whisper. Sweaty fingers gripped the cliff edge - fingers that had squeezed the life from my world. "I was never here," I replied. I walked away.

By Kevin Mannion 

 

 

 



 

 
February 2012 Competition: Theme - Taken Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

He rolled over, lit a cigarette. I smiled awkwardly, staggered to the bathroom. I muttered sadly at my dishevelled reflection. "Huh. Not what I expected."



Congratulations to Jen Lawson from Oxford who wins our February Txtlit competition. Jen works Jen Lawsonat a mental health hospital in research and development, where she co-ordinates clinical trials of potential new medications for depression, schizophrenia and other mental health problems. She is also studying MSc Cognitive Neuroscience, part time at Oxford Brookes. When she's not doing all of that however, she is an avid reader of as many genres as she can get her hands on. Jen used to love writing stories as a child, but fell out of the habit as she got older, possibly lacking confidence in her own writing ability. Instead she prefered to offer constructive advice to friends who had the confidence, discipline and drive to do some serious writing. She tells us that winning the Txtlit competition has given her an enormous confidence boost and shell definitely try and spend some time writing short stories and seeing where she can go from there.

 

'Taken' was the theme for the February competition and we were absolutely overwhelmed by the diversity of the entries. You all really put your imaginations to work and came up with a great range of stories, some with more tenuous links to the theme than others, but all of great quality. The diversity of interpretations is noticeable in the runners up. The number of entries was also exceptionally high; clearly we’ll have to come up with more themes like this one as it certainly seemed to get you all motivated. We eventually chose this entry by Jen Lawson as the winner because it coupled an original take on the theme with many many classic elements, not least the fact the theme isn't actually mentioned. With a little thought however, we are able to work out the link. The reveal at the end is brilliantly timed, and being delivered in dialogue, adds to the poignancy. Some nice use of cliché too as in the lighting of the cigarette, although the relevance is nicely kept unclear until the final reveal. Good job!


Other Shortlisted Entries:


He was the most gorgeous man I'd ever seen. Such style peering back at me through the cafe window. Forget traditionalism. "Excuse me, is this seat taken?"

By Claire Logan  


Her babies were gone. She tore her home apart, her brown body fat and trembling. Gone. Indoors, I removed a brown feather and cracked an egg into the pan.

By Lorna Wilkinson 


He fell, screaming. The man in black gave his verdict. The crowd fell silent, watching the executioner take his place. The penalty was taken. One-nil!

By Susanna Lewis 

 

My empty stomach; no kicks, so still. The pram with sleeping baby waiting outside the chip shop. I had to do it. Sssh little angel, Mummy's here now.

By Laura Huntley 

 



 

 
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