Columns > Published on January 29th, 2016

UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: Maps 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

  • 25 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 January 28th will be considered. We'll run the winner on January 29th.

This Month's Prize

This month's winner will get a copy of Bats Of The Republic, the debut book by Zachary Thomas Dodson. 

Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design.

In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave his beloved in Chicago to deliver a secret letter to an infamous general on the front lines of the war over Texas. The fate of the volatile republic, along with Zadock’s future, depends on his mission. When a cloud of bats leads him off the trail, he happens upon something impossible...

Three hundred years later, the world has collapsed and the remnants of humanity cling to a strange society of paranoia. Zeke Thomas has inherited a sealed envelope from his grandfather, an esteemed senator. When that letter goes missing, Zeke engages a fomenting rebellion that could free him—if it doesn’t destroy his relationship, his family legacy, and the entire republic first.

As their stories overlap and history itself begins to unravel, a war in time erupts between a lost civilization, a forgotten future, and the chaos of the wild. Bats of the Republic is a masterful novel of adventure and science fiction, of elliptical history and dystopian struggle, and, at its riveting core, of love.

Your Inspiration

MAPS! 

I'm sure there is a word out there to describe those obsessed with maps! I know I am. My ideal wall decorations are maps, and I refused to trash the coffee and snow stained U.S. road atlas that I've kept in my car since 2001—even though I have GPS on my phone, and the maps are likely outdated.

The book we are giving away is gorgeous with maps and diagrams, so use maps as an inspiration for your story. I will even accept pictures if you can upload them into the comments field. What do maps do? Direct you. Find you when you are lost. Orient you in a foreign place. Confirm that you are in the right place. Expose you to a place you've never been—and may never go!


And the Winner Is...Christina Re

Well, Christina Re is the clear winner here. She took the spirit of the prompt and the book we are giving away to heart and produced a story and an actual MAP to go with it! Amazing!! Love the details and little jokes! Way to go Christina! (Click to enlarge.)

This Planet Has Not Yet Been Rated

B1781 is an inhabited terrestrial planet with a molecular oxygen atmosphere in the Prinus Cathedi system. Black market planetary exports include coffee and television programs.

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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