Columns > Published on February 27th, 2014

UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: February 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 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. This month the deadline is a bit earlier. Since I will be joining Dennis, Rob, Patrick, Kirk, Bree, Suzy, and a whole bunch of other LitReactees (maybe even CHUCK) at AWP 2014 in Seattle, we plan to end the contest a few days early. You get 25 wordsbut there are no limits on structure or number of sentences. Get 'er done by the 25th, and we'll run it the next day.

The Rules

  • 25 words is the limit. (You can write less, but you can't write more.)
  • 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.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before February 25 will be considered. We'll run the winner on February 26.

This Month's Prize

Two titles from Two Dollar Radio:

1) Baby Geisha 

Baby Geisha is a collection of thirteen sexually-charged stories that roam from the Coney Island Ferris wheel to the Greek Isles.

You can read "Perverted Hobo"—one of the stories in this excellent collection—by clicking here.

2) Mira Corpora

Read LitReactor's review. Read an excerpt from the novel that was printed in Guernica.

It’s fine work in its manic pacing and its summoning of certain cultural emblems. Present tense with a vengeance. I hope the book finds the serious readers who are out there waiting for this kind of fiction to hit them in the face. 

-Don DeLillo 

Style is pre-eminent in Jeff Jackson's eerie and enigmatic debut. The prose works like the expressionless masks worn by killers in horror films.

-Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

Your Inspiration

Well, I just saw Seattle win the Super Bowl, and LitReactor will be taking over that rainy city later this month, so let's be inspired by rain, coffee, flannel, indie music, flying fish, retro-futuristic architecture, Sasquatch, volcanoes, computer software, Sherman Alexie, Rainn Wilson, legal pot, and anything else that you associate with the Emerald City.

Now get writing!

And the Winner Is... Jake Peterson

Well, I didn't intentionally pick a winner that actually LIVES in Seattle, but there you have it...I liked the simplicity of Jake's entry, the inclusion of "seattle-esque" elements, and the punchline ending to the story we all know well. Nicely executed. Well, Jake, congratulations, and maybe we will see you at AWP or the Party on Thursday night.


Eddie pulled out a mangled joint and fired it up as he sat huddled beneath the Space Needle. "I should start a band," he thought.

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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