Columns > Published on March 29th, 2013

UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: March 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. For this edition, we are going to alter the rules a bit to keep it fresh. You now get 25 words and 2 sentences.

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 is the limit. (You can write less, but you can't write more.)
  • The whole story must only be 2 sentences. No more. No less.
  • 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 March 28 will be considered. We'll run the winner on March 29.

This Month's Prize

Max Allan Collins' book Seduction of the Innocent. Here's a bit more about it:

It’s 1954, and a rabble-rousing social critic has declared war on comic books – especially the scary, gory, bloody sort published by the bad boys of the industry, EF Comics. But on the way to a Senate hearing on whether these depraved publications should be banned, the would-be censor meets a violent end of his own – leaving his opponents in hot water.

Can Jack Starr, private eye to the funny-book industry, and his beautiful boss Maggie unravel the secret of Dr. Frederick’s gruesome demise?  Or will the crackdown come, falling like an executioner’s axe…?

A hardboiled detective novel inspired by the 1950s witch-hunt against crime and horror comic books.  Written by best-selling novelist Max Allan Collins (author of Road to Perdition and long-time scripter of the Dick Tracy newspaper comic strip) and featuring 16 pages of interior illustrations by comic-book artist Terry Beatty (Batman, The Phantom),SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT tells the story of comic book industry troubleshooter Jack Starr and his investigation into the death of a moralizing crusader out to get violent comics banned. 

The book was inspired in part by the real-life crusade of Dr. Fredric Wertham, who in 1954 published a non-fiction book also titled Seduction of the Innocent in which he accused comic books – especially violent ones such as those put out by Tales from the Cryptpublisher EC Comics – of corrupting America’s innocent youth.

Your Inspiration

Photo via Flickr

Now get writing!


And the winner is...Strange Photon!

Strange Photon squeaked in just at the 25-word limit by using sonofabitch and Goddamnit as single words—and it worked! I like that he didn't interpret the inspirational photo literally, but rather followed it down the tangent a bit first so that it only appears in the single, non-literal use of the word bird. I also like that the Grandma scolds the "sonofabitch" for unsafe driving while simultaneously ordering her driver to pull a similarly dangerous stunt. That's the kind of Grandma I'd like to be someday...

Driving to Church

"Goddamnit, Kris, that sonofabitch nearly ran us off the road — get alongside and I'll flip him the bird." Grandma always had a way with words.

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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