Columns > Published on July 31st, 2014

UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: July 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.

The Rules

  • 25 words (not including the words in the prompt) You can write less, but not more.
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 10 words or less.
  • 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 July 30 will be considered. We'll run the winner on July 31.

This Month's Prize

An ARC of Moon over Tangier, the latest Frances Bacon Mystery from Janice Law. Amazon's description is below:

In colonial Morocco, a painter navigates a conspiracy of forgery, corruption, and murder

For Francis, life with David grows more dangerous by the day. When sober, he is charming, but when he drinks, he is violent, slashing Francis’s paintings and threatening to gut the painter, too. When David leaves London for Morocco, Francis cannot help but follow this man whom he loves but can no longer trust. In Tangier, they find a thriving community of expats who guzzle champagne while revolutionaries gather in the desert. But in Morocco’s International Zone, death does not wait for rebellion.

After Francis identifies a friend’s Picasso as a fake, the police call him in to investigate the forger’s demise. If he refuses, they will throw David in jail, where inmates and the DTs will kill him within the week. Between the bustle of the city and the emptiness of the desert, Francis finds that in Morocco, even the fakes can be worth killing for.

Your Inspiration

Let's play a game of Finish This Story! I am going to give you a sentence which you have to use somewhere in your story. You can use it as the first or last sentence, or use it somewhere in the middle. You have 25 words, NOT including the ones given in the prompt sentence.

Ok, here's your sentence:

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.


And the Winner Is....Alaninportland

I really like the way that Alaninportland mixed up the words of the prompt into different sentences to create a whole different type of story. Well done!

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty. I was sure. An eight at the worst. For such a disappointing thing to ever happen next was heartbreaking.  I flipped on my flashlight.  Her makeup was just on the wrong side of Haute Streetwalker.  All that eye shadow!

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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