Columns > Published on January 31st, 2014

UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: January 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, you get only 14 words, but there are no limits on structure or number of sentences.

The Rules

  • 14 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.
  • 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 January 30 will be considered. We'll run the winner on January 31.

This Month's Prize

Ever wonder what else Ellen Ripley was up in 1979? Find out with Titan Books' newest addition to the canon:

 Alien - Out of the Shadows (Book 1) by Tim Lebanon

In space no one can hear you scream...

The massively acclaimed Alien franchise is one of the most successful of all time, beginning with the first film in 1979. In a dramatic twist, this novel will return us to that time, to Ellen Ripley, and to never-before-revealed secrets of the Weyland-Yutani Corporations ... secrets that lead into the events of the second film, Aliens... and beyond!

Your Inspiration

It's a new day, it's a new year, it's a new set of rules! In honor of surviving 14 years past the Y2K Apocalypse-That-Wasn't, you get 14 words to write a flash fiction story on the topic of "newness".

Now get writing!


And the Winner is...OtCole!

Maybe it is because I can relate to this story--the futility of trying to take yourself seriously--but either way, it made me laugh. I also love that the two ellipses serve as words, making the final count exactly 14 words. Well done, OtCole!

Fantastical Tales of a Rookie

“Poleece man.”

“….”

“Mistah Poleece man.”

“Remain silent, citizen.”

“your fly is down.”

“….”

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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