Columns > Published on February 29th, 2016

UPDATED WITH WINNERS - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: Leap Year 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

  • 29 words. It can be less, but not 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 February 28th will be considered. We'll run the winner on February 29th.

This Month's Prize

2 lucky winners will each get a copy of Irvine Welsh' new book A Decent Ride. [Our review HERE]

A Decent Ride sees Irvine Welsh back in Edinburgh, this time with one of his most compelling and popular characters front and center: the rampaging force of nature that is 'Juice' Terry Lawson, first seen in Glue.

Juice is a man who contains multitudes: he's a top shagger, drug-dealing, gonzo pornstar and taxi driver. As we ride along in Juice's cab through the depraved streets of Edinburgh, Juice encounters a series of charmingly filthy characters, each of whom present their own, uh, unique challenges. Has he finally met his match in Hurricane 'Bawbag'? Can he discover the fate of the missing beauty, Jinty Magdalen, and keep her idiot-savant lover, the man-child Wee Jonty, out of prison? Will he find out the real motives of unscrupulous American businessman and reality-TV star, Ronald Checker? And, crucially, will Juice be able to negotiate life after a terrible event robs him of his sexual virility, and can a new fascination for the game of golf help him to live without . . . a decent ride? (The meaning of the title is starting to sink in now, huh?). So buckle your seatbelts and prepare for one unforgettable ride.

Your Inspiration

I used to think Leap Years were pretty neat! There is usually an Olympics and an election and some bullshit about women being able to propose marriage to a man. Well, I'm old and cynical now. Olympics are boring. Elections are painful. And...feminism! To me, February 29th is just a day that means March (and my paycheck) is coming one day later than usual. Furthermore, if you live in the northern hemisphere, February is often dark and cold and boring. I generally look forward to February being over. (Why can't we get an extra day in, say, June?)

This month, let's write stories about something that has overstayed its welcome, gone moldy. Let's write about something we can't WAIT to be OVER (like the high-waisted short-shorts trend or The Walking Dead). Let's call out the things that just never seem to end!

Then, when we've waited 29. LONG. DAYS., I'll announce the winners and we can get on with it! GAWD. Then we can move on to March! Spring! A Flash Fiction Contest Featuring Rob Hart's New Book! C'mon, February, let's get this OVER with... 

And the Winners Are...The Dark Lord and sierracook

Sorry, dudes, but men were (fictionally) harmed during this month's episode of LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown! The authors of these 2 cheeky entries win copies of Welsh' latest book. Congrats! 

From The Dark Lord:


Sizzler… upscale.
totally not 26 btw…

               lol at least it isn't like Bojangles
               or something! So is he cute???

Two plugs

From sierracook:

Greg Roland, fifty, was dreading this checkup. “There’s nothing to worry about. Prostate exams are routine,” but neither Dr. Maynard nor Greg were counting on the newly-mopped floor.

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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