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.

January 2013 Competition: Theme - The Debt Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

"My parents sold me," she replied flatly. I turned, got dressed and dropped her pay onto the bed. Mumbling a feeble thanks, I left. I never called again.

The Debt was the theme for our January 2013 competition, which was won with this entry by Jonathan ParrenoJonathan Parreno from Purley in Surrey. 23 year old Jonathan, a 2nd year undergraduate studying English Literature at Kings College London, tells us the he loves writing, particularly poetry. He is also the editor of a small magazine for his student hall. He entered the competition because he wanted to develop his prose style, and to learn how to be more efficient when writing. Jonathan notes that with such a tiny space to craft a story it really forced him to focus on what was being left unwritten as opposed to the words he actually wrote. (Something we discuss a lot with Txtlit competition entries) The subjects of Jonathan's prose writing tend to be the invisible elements of society and the hidden stories that shed light on how they managed to end up in such circumstances. Deep!


With the limited space that a Txtlit story affords, it's acceptable and arguably unavoidable, that some assumptions will have to be made. Notwithstanding, any such assumptions still need to be justifiable. In this story, we have to make the assumption that the protagonist has asked a question about how the speaker or speaker's family repaid a debt. By opening with dialogue and telling us that it is in reply, the author has effectively asked the question without wasting any precious character count. After the opening sentence, the remainder of the story is all about the consequences and effect that asking the question and receiving that answer has on the main character. It's probable that a feeling of shame is prevalent amongst men who use prostitutes, but after discovering how his 'service provider' has ended up in the situation she is in, the author does a great job of demonstrating just how ashamed the main character now feels. We can feel that there is no further eye contact, and any further communication is restricted to a mumble. You can visualise the protagonist’s head, bowed low. There's no twist or surprise here and the construction is another variation on how to write a captivating story in 154 characters or less.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

"Red. Sorry, sir." The desperate addict slumps again. "Always," he spits, "the casino always wins." A tear touches the canvas; it's time to tell the wife.

By Jack Roberts   

The stake was rough and heavy in her hand. "I can't," she said. "You must," he told her, his voice soft as night. "I let you live. Now please let me die."

By Matt Beames 


Certainly there was a score to settle-after all, she had stolen my husband! The question is though, how could i ever repay such a huge favour?

By Aileen Shirra from Cumbernauld 




December 2012 Competition: Theme - Finally Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Now he was dead and buried the truth had come out at last. There were hundreds others like her, all haunted by the memories. Finally they were believed.

Well done to Val Fish from Peterborough who wins our December competition with this entry. The theme for val fishDecember was "Finally". You may have seen Val's name before as she has been a runner up on several occaision but this is her first win. Val tells us that she finds creative writing very therapeutic and loves to write witty limericks,  hich are now and again published in the Daily Mail, along with her One Liners and Wordywise submissions. There is no financial reward for any of these and Val does it for pleasure and not for profit. She says it will be a pleasant change to receive a winning cheque. Val relishes the challenge of the Txtlit competitions and of fitting a story into such a short word limit. She uses her time sitting on the bus or train to construct and edit, and re-edit and re-edit until she is at last  satisfied with her effort. Well, Val it's paid off. You've 'finally' won!


We never really know what to expect when we set a competition theme. We may think we are steering entries towards a particular story style or type but because everyone's interpretation will potentially be different there are always a few surprises. With the theme set as 'Finally' the range of entries was very diverse but we still didn't really get anything like we expected. That's not a bad thing. In fact it's very refreshing. What we liked about Val Fish's story was the deep seated message. We can see the influence of recent revelations in Val's story but what she manages to hit on so well is the relief that the protaganist feels because others had come forward and now she is believed. We could really feel the frustration that someone might feel if there claims of what might be a very serious nature are dismissed as untruths. The use of the word 'finally' in the last sentence is perfectly placed and very powerful. Good work.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

It had been a long wait but it was finally happening. My heart skips a beat as he presses his cool lips to mine. "I now pronounce you husband and wife".

By Jade Ford   

Four mean, bloated, painful days late, her bloody monthly finally arrived and he had to stop bleating about his happy future family. Never. Gonna. Happen.

By  Claire Phillips


"No," she gasped finally.  Her eyes widened; fingers uncurled.  The pen rolled to the floor.  Their inheritance slipped away.

By Anthony Doolan from Chesterfield 




November Competition: Theme - The Sea Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The distant storm still rumbles, but now the ocean is a black mirror reflecting the rising flare. On the horizon, a floating shadow, and with it hope.

Congratulations to Rob Martin for winning the November's Txtlit compeition for which the theme was 'The Sea'. Rob MartinForty year old Rob lives in Plymouth with his wife, son and step daughter and works in the artwork department for a local printing company. He has written for pleasure on and off for ten years, but is now working on a children's novel for which he has received some very encouraging feedback from a writing tutor. Rob admits to being a terrible procrastinator so is hoping for the motivation to get his novel finished. He loves reading and makes sure that every novel he reads is a different genre to the previous one. He lists The Great Gatsby, The Day of the Triffids and Cloud Atlas amongst his favourite titles. He goes on to tell us that when he makes his fortune he wants to build a castle on an island.


We had a very high standard of entry for the November competition and there were some very good entries that tried to stretch what was a fairly prescriptive theme. The winning entry from Rob Martin was a clear winner. This story is not just a perfect example of how to write a Txtlit story but is a lesson in writing for any writer. Look at how much we are told in just 150 characters. We have just experienced a storm that continues in the distance. We are in or near darkness and have just sent up a distress flare. Clearly we are adrift, probably in a life raft having lost our vessel to the storm. Distraught, we see the silhouette of a ship on the horizon that we hope will save us. Add to this detail an excellent story construction, clever use of language and a perfect tempo. Well done Rob, we absolutely loved this one!

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Awestruck the tribe gazed at the endless sea which had swallowed their hunting grounds now they were trapped by what would one day be the English channel.

By La-Verne Hamil from Sussex  

The ship had gone down some ways back. The sea had claimed my family; everything and everyone I love. I dove down and let the waters take me back to them.

By Daniel Fielding


Atrocious weather and that albatross they'd had for lunch was definitely off. As Jonah hung over the side puking, he felt the day couldn't get any worse.

By Barbara Hickson 

And we had to put this one in...

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Biblical manuscripts containing 972 texts. And yet still they never won first prize in a Txtlit competition.

By Carol Bennion-Pedley





October Competition: Theme - Glad to be Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The cell doors are opened, I am shoved into my small, dark, comforting home. I have killed a man, but feel no remorse. I'm glad to be back.

Well done to Phoebe Thomson from London who wins our October competition which had the theme, Phoebe Thomson"Glad to Be". Phoebe is just 17 years old, which we think makes her the youngest winner of a Txtlit competition we've ever had. Phoebe is still at school and enjoys writing and reading and listening to the radio.  She hopes to study English and History at University, but is also studying Maths and Art at the moment. Phoebe also cites 'getting letters in the post' as one of the things she enjoys, so we expect she'll be ecstatic when she receives her winner's cheque.


Most of you did a good job of getting to grips with the theme for October, although as it was a little out of the ordinary, the number of entries we received was noticeably down on the monthly average. Paradoxically, this made judging all the more difficult, as the standard of entries was very high. We settled on this entry by Phoebe Thomson as the winner. It’s not an overly complicated story but the underlying message is very strong. It is well paced and builds nicely from the cell door opening and being shoved in. Our protagonist however, finds comfort in the smallness and darkness of what he refers to as home. We learn that he has killed someone; anyone, just a man, and is unremorseful. Note how well placed the final phrase is. This is clearly someone who is institutionalised to the point of insanity, where he is prepared to go as far as murder to put himself back into familiar surroundings where he finally feels safe. Powerful stuff and just 139 characters.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Handcuffed, blindfolded and scared out of his mind, the British hostage begged for his life. Rory prayed and thanked God his Irish passport had saved him.

By Stephen Rooney   

I look in the rear-view mirror. Blue lights shine brighter. Sirens sound louder. Police edge closer. Officers pull me over. I'm so glad to be sober.

Also by Stephen Rooney  


She was glad to be back. It had only been a few  minutes but  long enough to see the light. This wasn't her time. Heaven can wait.

By Val Fish from Peterboroughn  





September Competition: Theme - Just One Chance Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

He reached out to her as he sprinted across the roof; felt her warm fingers brush past his, then the cool air as she fell backwards over the edge. Missed.

Well done Abla Seckley, winner of September's competition, the theme for which was "Just One Chance".Image 18 year old Abla is currently studying Law at the University of Kent.  She enjoys reading and writing short stories in her spare time and tells us her favorites are the ones with the unexpected plot twists and bitter sweet endings or victories.  This is the first competition that Abla has entered, so with such success she'll doubtless be entering some more.


Our September theme of "Just One Chance" produced an array of story ideas and plots from you all. That's a good indicator to us at Txtlit.co.uk that we've once again set a good theme that can be interpreted in many different ways. The winning entry from Abla Seckley is one of those Txtlit stories that you don't fully get first time and takes one or more re-reads to fully understand. The advantage of a micro story is that it is re-readable in just a few seconds, so we don't see this as a bad thing when we are judging entries. It is only after one or two re-reads that we fully understand the situation and so why we enter the story witnessing someone sprinting across a roof. We love the contrast of the warm fingers and the cool air which superbly demonstrates the failure of our character as he has just one chance to fully grasp the hand of the girl or woman to prevent her from falling from the roof. We are not told in the story but Abla has cleverly made it seem as though the female character is taking her own life by deliberately falling. The final word 'missed' does demean the story a little and probably could have been omitted altogether as we are already aware of the failure, but otherwise this is a fine entry and a worthy winner.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

I wait. In moments he will be gone, lost in a sea of faces. The gun rests weightily in my hand, my fingers twitch, but I wait. Wait for the right moment.

By Fiona Points  

His palms were slick, his mouth dry. A puff on the inhaler to steady the nerves. "Okay", he said, rolling the conker between his fingers, "I'm ready".

By Amy Ekins 

And "Tut tut!" to this entry...

The tornado tore through the living room, splitting the Monopoly board neatly in two. Half of it just flew away. Now we only had one Chance.

By Clare Kirwan  





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