Columns > Published on November 27th, 2013

UPDATED WITH WINNER: LitReactor's Flash (Crime) Fiction Smackdown: November Edition

Flash (Crime) Fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity—and crime!

How It Works

We give you inspiration in the form of a picture, poem, video, or similar. You write a flash fiction piece, using the inspiration we gave you. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked and awarded a prize.

The Rules

  • 100 words is the limit. (You can write less, but you can't write more.)
  • Give it a title (not included in the word count, but keep it under 10 words).
  • We're not exactly shy, but let's stay away from senseless racism or violence.
  • One entry per person.
  • Editing your entry after you submit it is permitted.
  • We'll pick a winner on the last (working) day of the month.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before November 26 will be considered. We'll run the winner on November 27.

This Month's Prize

Win a copy of the Kwik Krimes anthology edited by Otto Penzler. Here's a bit about the book from

Entire novels are often written about a single crime, detailing every gruesome, dark detail until the last drop of blood spatters across the page. Yet in this mystery anthology, renowned editor and author Otto Penzler weaves together to heart-stopping effect more than ninety tales of brutality, terror, and unexpected demise, with each story told in a swift one thousand words or less.

These crimes may be fast in both form and fallout, but none lack the dark impulses that too often guide human hands to ill ends. Prepare to be transported into the diabolical schemes of criminal masterminds…into robberies and pranks gone horribly awry…into closets crammed with skeletons…into families bound not by love but wickedness.

The collection includes some of our very own LitReactor staffers and instructors: Rob W. Hart, Christa Faust, and David Corbett. So, even if you don't win, it's worth checking out this book!

Your Inspiration

Let's take our inspiration from the prize itself. I'll up the word limit to 100 and take off the 2 sentence limitation (see the rules above). Submit your 100-word Flash "Krime" story by November 26 and we'll run it the next day.

Now Get Writing!

And the winner is... Jesse Toler

I like the circularity of the story telling and the connecting of elements from one sentence to the next. (Money -> measure, heart -> thing, ex-boyfriend -> him, etc.). I also like the step-by-step reveal of the relationship of the assassin to his victim and to his employer. It's succint, purposeful, and devoid of loose ends. Well done, Jesse!

Take my wife

The money was in the account.  A measure of value for eight bullets and a day spent waiting for that perfect moment between tics of a second when she was alone.  All eight of them meant for her heart.  The very thing destroyed in the chest of a dentist from the valley, her ex-boyfriend.  To him she was the one that got away.  To the assassin she was the woman he married, but he knew nothing of this until the contract posted.  A contract he gladly took.  He wondered after if anyone would pay him to kill the dentist.

About the author

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer for an engineering firm and volunteers on the planning committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education.

She holds a degree in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. In the English graduate program at Penn State, she taught college composition courses and hosted a poetry club for a group of high school writers.

While living in Seattle, Taylor started and taught a free writing class called Writer’s Cramp (see the website). She has also taught middle school Language Arts & Spanish, tutored college students, and mentored at several Seattle writing establishments such as Richard Hugo House. She’s presented on panels at Associated Writing Programs Conference and the Pennsylvania College English Conference and led writing groups in New York, Pennsylvania, and Colorado for writers of all ages & abilities. She loves to read, write, teach & debate the Oxford Comma with anyone who will stand still long enough.

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