Columns > Published on June 30th, 2015

UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: 'New Yorked' Edition

Flash fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity.

Welcome to LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown, a monthly bout of writing prowess.

How It Works

We give you inspiration in the form of a picture, poem, video, or prompt. 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

  • 25 words, tops. No more. 
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 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.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before June 29th will be considered. We'll run the winner on June 30th.

This Month's Prize

This month, I'm teaming up with fellow LitReactee Rob Hart—Hi, Rob!—to promote Rob's new novel New Yorked, which comes out in print this month. Instead of a book, we are giving away one of the cool pieces of swag Rob's publishers came up. This month's winner will receive a limited-edition New Yorked umbrella—and no, it's NOT weaponized, and I wouldn't advise you to use it AS a weapon. 

Your Inspiration:

The beating heart of New York City.

What does that conjure for you?

You don't have to live there to participate. You don't even need to have been there. Because the Big Apple is a city of legend. Greatest city in the world, and it ain't even an exaggeration. Even if you've never laid eyes on it, it conjures some sort of feeling or emotion or fear or expectation.

Give us that in 25 words or less. Show us the beating heart of New York City. The one that you know. The one that you've heard of. The one that you believe in or dream about.


And the Winner Is...Scott Williams

Congrats Scott!! Rob loved your entry because

It's a non-obvious nod to the dangerous and uncontrollable and entropic nature of the city. It feels so much bigger than what's there. I'm already thinking of a rogue park overtaking urban decay.

Enjoy your super-awesome (though not-weaponized) New Yorked umbrella! You may need it to defend yourself from whatever is lurking in the park...oh and it's good for rain, too.

Green Paws

Finally, when tree roots tore up the foundations along Central Park West, we realized: the walls surrounding the Park weren’t there to keep something out.

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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