November: Theme - Alone

Winning Entry:

Ten green bottles. You know the rest. Here I am, standing on a wall, last of my vintage, and I'm worried. Those falls were no accidents. They were pu...

By  Sim Smailes


November’s Txtlit writing competition was won by regular conrtributor and previous winner, Sim Smailes. A  Sim Smailes  primary school teacher, Sim lives with his wife and cats in Essex. Sim has had some success with his writing but the dream is still to have a book published one day. He goes on to say how very glad he is to have discovered Txtlit because the competitions keep the grey cells ticking over and really make you think about every word that you write.

Some excellent and vey varied entries this month in response to the theme of ‘Alone’. Perhaps predictably we had quite a high proportion of entries that wrote about being left alone after the death of a loved one but we also had many that looked at alternative scenarios to apply the theme to. One such being this entry from Sim Smailes. Sim uses that old Txtlit technique of using something well known to us to partially tell the story. When you have such a limit on characters it’s a useful device. Sim takes the nursery rhyme of ‘Ten green Bottles’ and brilliantly personifies that last remaining bottle. It’s even given a touch of class by being described as a vintage. Although we know what the situation is, Sim adds a comic effect to the sense of impending doom with the simple words “and I’m worried”. The song tells us that the bottles fall accidentally, but our bottle suggests something more sinister is afoot and the inevitable happens; conveyed with an unfinished sentence. A really quite delightful story that leaves you grinning.

Other shortlisted entries:

He entered the stadium united with his comrades. He rose with them in hope; sank in dismay. Afterwards he sat isolated and left as he entered, alone.

By  Paul Gledhill   

Another glug of wine. Pace yourself. He still might show. Fiddle with the menu. Check your hair again. A nervous waiter: "Madam, a phone call for you..."

By Charis Fox    

 The crowd roared with delight as she entered the arena. Thousands of eyes followed as she took her place and as she waited, trembling, for the lions.

By  Sarah Magill 



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