Columns > Published on May 31st, 2012

UPDATED WITH WINNER: LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: May Edition

Flash fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity.

Welcome to the first installment of LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown. This shall be a monthly bout of writing prowess, in which you'll be challenged to thrill us in 250 words or less.

And to the victor go the spoils!

How It Works

We give you something. It could be a picture, or an idea, or an STD. You write a flash fiction piece, using the thing we gave you as inspiration. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked, and awarded a prize. 

The Rules

  • 250 words is the limit (you can write less, but you can't write more)
  • Any genre
  • 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 (though don't start changing the whole thing)
  • We'll pick a winner on the last day of the month

UPDATE (5/14): The Judge

Today we're excited to introduce the judge for our contest. The winner will be chosen by Chester Pane, who facilitates a recurring flash fiction competition in our forums. And he has a message for the contestants: 

Flash is an elevator pitch. Cut the cables. Take us on a ride. Freefall with form and precision.

UPDATE (5/23): This Month's Prize

Since this is the inaugural contest, we're offering one month of free membership to LitReactor's writing workshop. If you're not a member already, learn more about that here

We've decided to throw another prize into the mix. The winner will also receive an ARC of The Last Werewolf sequel, Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan, slated for release on June 26 (and huge thanks to our friends at Knopf for the advance copy).

Your Inspiration


And the winner is... chrisdeal

Here's what our judge, Chester Pane, had to say: The dynamic, curious language and the transport to another place in a mere flash. Like a bolt of lightning illuminating a glimpse into another world.


From the nothing that is the world beyond the city's limits, Xocotl came roaring into existence like a bird from the flames. It started when the dealers out near Cancer Ally started ending up nude of product, their tongues pulled down through their throat in a coyote's grin. Then the fires started in warehouses up and down the river. Guns, with and without badges, roamed the streets with only that name, Xocotl, for a target.

When he struck closest to the seat of power, leaving bodies burnt and torn asunder, there came a survivor. His eyes had been plucked from their sockets and found in a glass of scorpion wine. His voice was made of velvet, the amaurotic witness said, and the shape of his form was that of a jackal.

When the city's Jefe, an old man with blood on his shoes, found the egg on his door step, crushed beneath an absent boot, he knew the day of his life was closing in on sunset. He consolidated what men he had that maintained the loyalty he required in his home, waiting for the man they called Xocotl to come for him.

Each creak of wood was an enemy blade slipping through the shadows. Each night held little promise of morning. The Jefe waited for his death while the streets were free for the taking. Product flowed once again, bodies sat unclaimed in the morgue. An egg hatched out in the nothing and the city was claimed.

About the author

Rob Hart is the class director at LitReactor. His latest novel, The Paradox Hotel, will be released on Feb. 22 by Ballantine. He also wrote The Warehouse, which sold in more than 20 languages and was optioned for film by Ron Howard. Other titles include the Ash McKenna crime series, the short story collection Take-Out, and Scott Free with James Patterson. Find more at

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