UPDATED WITH WINNERS: 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.

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

  • 15 words. No more. No less.
  • 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 March 30th will be considered. We'll run the winner on March 31st.

This Month's Prize

We are giving away two books this month to two lucky winners! One will be an ARC of Sarah Gerard's Binary StarThis Two Dollar Radio title has been getting some great reviews, but here's a synopsis for ya!

The language of the stars is the language of the body. Like a star, the anorexic burns fuel that isn't replenished; she is held together by her own gravity.

With luminous, lyrical prose, Binary Star is an impassioned account of a young woman struggling with anorexia and her long-distance, alcoholic boyfriend. On a road trip circumnavigating the United States, they stumble into a book on veganarchism, and believe they've found a direction.

Binary Star is an intense, fast-moving saga of two young lovers and the culture that keeps them sick (or at least inundated with quick-fix solutions); a society that sells diet pills, sleeping pills, magazines that profile celebrities who lose weight or too much weight or put on weight, and books that pimp diet secrets or recipes for success.

The other book is The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing by Nicholas Rombes—another awesome title from our friends at Two Dollar Radio

In the mid-'90s a rare-film librarian at a state university in Pennsylvania mysteriously burned his entire stockpile of film canisters and disappeared. Roberto Acestes Laing was highly regarded by acclaimed directors around the globe for his keen eye, appreciation for eccentricity, and creativity in interpretation.

Unsure at first whether Laing is a pseudonym or some sort of Hollywood boogeyman, a journalist manages to track the forgotten man down to a motel on the fringe of the Wisconsin wilds. Laing agrees to speak with the journalist, but only through the lens of the cinema. What ensues is an atmospheric, cryptic extrapolation of movies and how they intertwine with life, and the forgotten films that curse the lost librarian still.

Your Inspiration:

I give you this: Salvador Dali's 1941 fundraising dinner for artists displaced by World War II. Go!


1941 Newsreel. Surrealist artist Salvador Dali designs and hosts a party held in the Bali Room of the Hotel Del Monte, Monterey, California. The event was titled Night in a Surrealist Forest and it was a fund raiser to help European artists displaced by the war.

OK, so this month we didn't have a lot of takers for the Dali Dinner Party inspiration. We did, however, have a lot of quality entries. 

Our two winners this month are...Luke Schamer

Art in Flames

"I immolated my last painting," said Gio.

"Why?" I asked.

"It was worth more dead."

...and Charles N

Man Ray Picked His Nose

A fly floated half-dead in his lettuce soup. Another Icarus. Duchamp: Who's ready for dessert?

As for who gets which book...whichever winner gets back to me first gets to pick their prize. Ready, set, GO!

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Taylor Houston

Column by Taylor Houston

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer and volunteers on the marketing committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College and attended Penn State's MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. She has taught writing at all levels from middle school to college to adult, and she is the creator of Writer’s Cramp, a class for adults who just want to write!

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Luke Schamer's picture
Luke Schamer from Cincinnati, Ohio is reading "House of Leaves" March 2, 2015 - 11:58am

Art in Flames

"I immolated my last painting," said Gio. 

"Why?" I asked. 

"It was worth more dead."

Christopher Peterson's picture
Christopher Peterson from Illinois is reading the tea leaves... March 17, 2015 - 7:20am

Dine Fining with the Had Matter

Triple-faced Trimalchio beckoned them to Bedlam’s banquet. Hope departed before dessert, but all left hungry.

Rose Ketring's picture
Rose Ketring March 3, 2015 - 5:14am

Dinner Party with Reality

Unicorns dine with mortal ears
Hope eats the sole
Unimpeded Polliwog 

Charles N's picture
Charles N from New York March 4, 2015 - 8:03pm

Man Ray Picked His Nose

A fly floated half-dead in his lettuce soup. Another Icarus. Duchamp: Who's ready for dessert?

Joe Bogle's picture
Joe Bogle March 20, 2015 - 9:18am

"Party Conception"

"Salvi, baby.  Unicorn's heavy.  I'ma turn over."


"Then I expect dinner."

     "Fine.  Frogs good?"

Rod Mance's picture
Rod Mance from AR is reading All the time, every chance he gets March 20, 2015 - 8:41pm

Gunpowder on Canvas: The Swallows Leave the Feast

Unhinged jaws dance around purple swallows that fly belly up through contemptible cheeks—splashing party.