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 2014 Competition

Your July theme is Mistaken Identity. Who is mistaken and what are the consequences? Write a story in 154 characters or less, precede it with the word STORY and a space and text it to 82085

August 2014 Competition

We'll reveal the competition theme for August at the end of July. Come back to find out what it will be and to see the results for June. In the meantime, get writing your entries for July.

 

 

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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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July Competition: Theme - Make a Wish Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Looking at the gun aimed at him he closed his eyes and made a wish. He heard nothing, for a moment he thought it had worked. 'I'm afraid not,' said Death.



July's winner is James Bywater, 27 from Northamptonshire. James works at a bakery but has recently James Bywater completed an Open University course in Creative Writing, which motivated him to enter into writing competitions. This is James's first Txtlit entry and he tells us he feels elated to have won! James has been tinkering with short stories for a while, but his Txtlit entry is certainly the shortest he's written so far. His plan is to start small and work bigger, and so far it seems to be working.

 

Logistically, this is a well thought through story, and is nicely rounded off with a classic twist. Faced with what looks to be certain death, probably all of us would resort to simply wishing the inevitable wouldn't happen. Clearly this is what the protagonist has done in this story, but because he has died so instantaneously, he hasn't even had chance to hear the gun being fired. Imagine the elation you might feel of having a wish come true at your most desperate moment. A brilliantly delivered twist reveals however that for our character, wishes remain but a fantasy, and, as Death can obviously read peoples thoughts, the reality of the situation is revealed in the worst possible way. We particularly like the deadpan execution of the reveal. A simple "said" to describe how the single phrase of dialogue is delivered says so much and is exactly what you would expect from Death himself.


Other Shortlisted Entries:


She wiped the mud from the shiny metal object. Would she get her wish? She rubbed furiously and it began to glow. Yes, her IPhone still worked!

By John Wheable, Herts. 


She wished for eternal peace, before accidentally following her penny into the well.  The deeper she went, the quieter it became, as her wish came true.

By Angela Smith, kent 


"Make me a cake!" I commanded imperiously. Seconds later, my genie was cackling gleefully as he sank his fork into my spongy, icing-coated rump.

Awaiting Author's details



 

 
June Competition: Theme - Crime Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

He was a brilliant student but kept himself to himself. Our parents miss him yet how could I spend my life in his shadow? Pity he never learnt to swim.



June's competition winner is Beryl Sennett who declares to be absolutely thrilled to have won; especially Beryl Sennettas this is her first attempt!  After graduatig in June having spent the last six years doing a part-time BA Hons English degree, Beryl now wants to concentrate on writing a novel and hopefully get it published. Beryl lives in Oxfordshire but spend a lot of time running a holiday let in Stratford-upon-Avon and says the amount of laundry she has to do often makes her feel like Widow Twanky. Oh no it doesn't!



We liked this entry because it's nicely constructed; setting the scene, creating a motive and delivering a punchline, and it gives us just enough information to understand it, but requires a little bit of detective work from us as we read between the lines to find the clues. Sibling rivalry has been the cause behind crimes throughout the centuries and its neatly bought into play here in this Txtlit story. Our protaganist is clealry being overshadowed by a brilliant brother, to the extent where he or she will go to any lengths to find recognition, even, as we are drawn into assuming, murder. The fact that it is only the parents who miss their son neatly conveys a lack of feeling from the speaker, and the way the final line is calmly delivered adds an element of menace and gives us our clue to the real cause of death. Nice job.

Other Shortlisted Entries:


Stolen strawberries always tasted sweeter. If caught, the punishment would be a kiss. She lingered longer, licking her reddened lips in anticipation.

By Wendy Mark 


Blood, a subtle calling card. Of course they don't know the deaths are linked, but each victim has the blood of the last on their hands. Literally.

By Samantha Horne 


I don't buy from roadside vendors but the guy in the day-glo jacket was very persuasive. I thought £95 was very reasonable for a speed awareness course.

By John Wheable, Herts.


And a few we couldn't resist...

  


"Hold it right there and listen up punk. This is an 86g Magnum, the most powerful ice cream in the world. Do you feel lucky? You do? Here you go then."

Awaiting Author's details


"Are you going out again tonight Jack?".

Also by John Wheable

 

Assault, identity fraud, attempted murder... He howled at the charges, a fierce defence. But the girl made him see RED. Helpless. The wolf pounced again.

By Eilise Norris


 

 
May Competition: Theme - The Game Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I hope I can beat level one this time. The fools keep killing each other, they never learn. Flood reset again. Deep breath, I'm ready. Let there be light.



Congratulations to Gary Buck from Southeast London, who tells us he is surprised and Gaz Buckexcited to win our May competition. Gary, or Gaz as prefers, has just completed year two of a four year MEng Civil Engineering course and likes to write short stories for fun in his spare time. A fan of any challenge that involves words or puzzles, Gaz occasionally writes for student magazines and papers and takes an interest in science fiction and heroic fantasy, which we think comes across in his winning entry. One of Gaz’s dreams is to have something published so we’re glad to oblige on the online front; and on this form we don’t think it will be long before we see some of his work in print.



To be honest, we didn't get this story at the first read. Initially we thought it was about a specific computer game and so nearly disregarded it for being to narrowly targeted. Then we realised it is actually a parody where God is the player and the creation of Earth is the game. We liked the subtle hint about the flood being reset, and the idea of taking a deep breath in preparation of restarting a game is especially relevant. The real give away though was the final sentence which makes sense of the whole story. On re-reading we get the full entertainment value, and though it's only fiction it's a disturbing concept to think that we're still at level 1. This is a well thought out and brilliantly constructed Txtlit story.   


Other Shortlisted Entries:


Zac held his breath. Grandpa studied the chessmen. Would he spot the knight? "Gotcha," Grandpa said, triumphant. Zac smiled. Reverse cheating was so hard.

By Anne Graham, Edinburgh  

  


She knew the rules. Her mind focused on the prize. Yet she felt no pride as she collected the winnings - ninety pounds for her first night on the game.

By Loretta Hegarty   
 

  


He could feel the heat as soon as he opened the door. Though it did seem like a good idea at the time. Up above the game of souls continued....

By Julie Fielding  


  

 
April 2011 Competition: Theme - The Fool Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

We break out and fly out over the sea and nothing can hold me down. The spotlight bears down on me, my feathers swirl and I hear my father yell, 'Icarus!'

 

Congratulations to Cathal McGuigan who wins April's Txtlit competition with this entry. Cathal McGuigan Cathal, 22, studied Creative Writing as part of his English/Philosophy Degree in Belfast and has been publishing articles and entering competitions since, although he hopes to force himself to write more in the future. He is currently jobhunting and looking forward to starting an MA in Irish Studies this September. Having entered Txtlit for several months, Cathal has enjoyed the challenge and is glad to have (finally) cracked it. He believes that Txtlit is a great way for aspiring writers to get started. You can take a lok at Cathal's blog at http://thehorserodeinonme.wordpress.com/ 

 

There were no fools amongst the entrants for April; the overall standard was very high and we saw a lot more diversity in the story lines than we expected. It was interesting to see how you interpreted the theme and there were a few more than usual who utilised a contemporary message. See in particular the politically themed runner up story from Jeff Rowlands. The winner was chosen however for a superbly constructed story, which, although it re-tells a well known tale, really connects with the theme of The Fool. In using a known story, we are drawn between the words where we learn that not content with his freedom, Icarus becomes carried away with his new found ability to fly, and we are all too aware of his fate when he gets too close to the Sun. Cathal has done a great job here with a classic Txtlit combination of utilising information we already know to tell part of the story with a one word reveal at the very end. Classic stuff.




Other Shortlisted Entries:


His hand on my arm he said "You've shown wisdom with this coallition. You'll go down in history Nick." Me and Dave walked out to greet the media smiling.

By Jeff Rowlands  

  


Before setting off, he looked back. They called it a fool's errand. Worse, heresy. Then a round world rose up to meet him, at last. An explorer's heaven.

By Eilise Norris   
 

  


Everyone saw the fool at the center of the feast but no one could see the man with a fake smile. He made them laugh all night, they made him cry all day.

By Emma Blyth 

 


  

 
March Competition: Theme - The Fear Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

 

Leaping from the bridge over the ravine, she didn't care anymore. She plummeted in silence. Only when the bungee strap gripped her ankles did she scream. 

 

Well done to first time entrant Michael Carter from North Yorkshire, winner of March's Txtlit competition. Michael CarterMichael quit his full-time job as a university lecturer to make more time for writing, which consists mostly of drama. A member of Script Yorkshire, Michael currently has a fifteen-minute script (called A Peaceful Resolution) being produced at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London as part of REDfest. Over the past few months Michael has also been working to develop his prose writing and came across Txtlit when looking on the internet for opportunities for short story writers. Although Michael found entering the competition great fun and great writing excercise, he tells us that after reading the many excellent entries on the website, he sees Txtlit as a contemporary art form in its own right. Glad to see we're getting the message across!

 

It appears that many of you harbour a fear of spiders, as spider based stories dominated the entries for our March competition for which the theme was "The Fear". We chose Michael's story as the winner however because we liked the classic story construction and the original way that it portrays the theme. The scene is neatly set as we find our protaganist already throwing herself from the bridge; her lack of caring makes us consider what has brought her to such a dramatic action. All is revealed when we understand that it is actually a bungee jump, and as we reflect on the story we can imagine the fear that must be felt by anyone about to throw themselves from a bridge, bungee cord or not.




Other Shortlisted Entries:


We shrieked with laughter. My older sister was now 7 and we were playing with her new birthday toys. SLAM! We froze to the sound of footsteps. He was home.

By  Claire Logan 

  


Again, I hold back from submitting my manuscript.Yet, this reluctance to take the final leap, is due not to the fear of failure, but that of success!

By Loretta Hegarty   
 

  


And with a shove I permanently freed him of his fear of heights.

Awaiting Author's details   

 
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