Columns > Published on January 1st, 2014

UPDATED WITH WINNER: LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: December (Holiday) 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. You get 31 words and 3 holiday song or movie titles.

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

  • 31 words is the limit. (You can write less, but you can't write more.)
  • The story must include the titles of 3 holiday song or movies used either explicitly or implicitly.
  • It can be any genre.
  • 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 day of the month.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before December 30 will be considered. We'll run the winner on December 31.

This Month's Prize

It's a Trekkie's dream come true (and no, I don't mean that George Takei will personally take over your Twitter account). Titan Books is offering a two-book prize pack. Winners will get a copy of Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz  and David A. Goodman's Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years. Here's a summary of each from the publisher:

What if every Star Trek: The Original Series episode was a movie event? What would the movie poster look like? This was the inspiration to develop a one-of-a-kind set of images for the series that launched a franchise. Artist Juan Ortiz has created unique retro-style art with the look of a 60s movie poster, comic book, pulp novel cover or advertisement, one each for all 80 episodes.

Juan Ortiz is an avid Star Trek enthusiast and an accomplished artist that set out to create an art program representing each of the 80 episodes from the Star Trek: The Original Series. The artwork embodies his passion for the series, the transformational Sixties, and the visceral reaction generated from each episode.

Since 1985, Juan has been an illustrator/designer for Disney and Warner Bros. and has penciled covers for DC Comics’ Looney Tunes and Tiny Toons magazines. He is also the publisher of his own comic book series, Silver Comics, seen in the Disney/Dreamworks release I Am Number Four (produced by Steven Spielberg) as well as The Skull Army, a macabre/detective pulp, featuring his creation (named) The End. 

For the first time, an ‘in universe’ history of Star Trek, complete with excerpts from Starfleet records and intergalactic intelligence, including James T. Kirk’s official biography and newly translated Klingon reports.

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the United Federation of Planets.

This unprecedented illustrated volume chronicles the pivotal era leading up to Humankind's First Contact with Vulcan in 2063, the Romulan War in 2156, the creation of the Federation in 2161, and the first 150 years of the intergalactic democracy up until the year 2311. Meticulously researched, this account covers a multitude of alien species, decisive battles, and the technology that made the Age of Exploration possible. It includes field sketches, illustrations, and reproductions of historic pieces of art from across the Galaxy, along with over fifty excerpts from key Federation documents and correspondence, Starfleet records, and intergalactic intelligence.

Your Inspiration

Since you pretty much can't escape them no matter how hard you try, put all those holiday songs and movies to work as inspiration for a Holiday-themed Flash Fiction story.

This month, there will be a 31-word limit (you know, 31 days in December)  but no limit on number of sentences. Also, your story must include a minimum of 3 holiday song or movie titles. The titles can be worked in to appear almost unnoticeable or you can directly use the titles as part of the story.

Also, assuming I have not seen or heard every holiday-related song or movie, you may want to list them after your story, underline them, or even hyperlink them, so that I will be sure not to miss your ingenious inclusion of Rare Exports or some other obscure (but AWESOME) holiday movie or song. (Rare Exports, BTW, is one of the BEST Christmas movies I've ever seen. Creepy and amazing...)

Good Luck, and Happy Holidays everybody!

Now get writing!


And the winner is...Ben Jackson

There were a lot of great entries this month, but Ben's is the only story with a holiday movie I'd never heard of! I love the use of dialogue and the reference to the Alvin and the Chipmunks song. Well done, Ben!

A Christmas Lament on Boxing Day

“Gimme a lemon drop, kid,” Alvin called to the bartender.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas?” the barkeep asked.

“Nah. I’ll never get that hula-hoop. Old dreams die hard,” he replied.

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.

Similar Columns

Explore other columns from across the blog.

Book Brawl: Geek Love vs. Water for Elephants

In Book Brawl, two books that are somehow related will get in the ring and fight it out for the coveted honor of being declared literary champion. Two books enter. One book leaves. This month,...

The 10 Best Sci-Fi Books That Should Be Box Office Blockbusters

It seems as if Hollywood is entirely bereft of fresh material. Next year, three different live-action Snow White films will be released in the States. Disney is still terrorizing audiences with t...

Books Without Borders: Life after Liquidation

Though many true book enthusiasts, particularly in the Northwest where locally owned retailers are more common than paperback novels with Fabio on the cover, would never have set foot in a mega-c...

From Silk Purses to Sows’ Ears

Photo via Freeimages.com Moviegoers whose taste in cinema consists entirely of keeping up with the Joneses, or if they’re confident in their ignorance, being the Joneses - the middlebrow, the ...

Cliche, the Literary Default

Original Photo by Gerhard Lipold As writers, we’re constantly told to avoid the cliché. MFA programs in particular indoctrinate an almost Pavlovian shock response against it; workshops in...

A Recap Of... The Wicked Universe

Out of Oz marks Gregory Maguire’s fourth and final book in the series beginning with his brilliant, beloved Wicked. Maguire’s Wicked universe is richly complex, politically contentious, and fille...

Reedsy | Editors with Marker (Marketplace Editors)| 2024-05

Submitting your manuscript?

Professional editors help your manuscript stand out for the right reasons.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.

Enter your email or get started with a social account: