Columns > Published on September 28th, 2012

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

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

Welcome to 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.

How It Works

We give you a picture. You write a flash fiction piece, using the picture 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
  • Give it a title
  • 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
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate

All stories submitted on or before September 27 will be considered. We'll run the winner on September 28.

This Month's Prize

The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure. Here's the description from Amazon: 

The turning points, revelations, epiphanies, dramatic changes, the opening or closing of a door—in a life, a career, a love—can occur in a single glorious, terrible, unpredictable, serendipitous, crucial, calamitous, chaotic, amazing . . . Moment.

The creators of the enormously popular Not Quite What I Was Planning and Six-Word Memoir series now offer stories of the Moment—the one-time chances, unexpected coincidences, and sudden catastrophes that made all the difference in the story of one life.

The results are triumphant, outrageous, heartwarming, heartbreaking, embarrassing, illuminating, and inspiring—life-changing moments from contributors Dave Eggers, Diane Ackerman, Elizabeth Gilbert, Bill Ayers, Jennifer Egan, A. J. Jacobs, Judy Collins, and many more.

Your Inspiration

And the winner is... J.Y.!

I love the brevity, the cadence, and the language. Most of all, I love what it brushes up against. 

Flies Also Like Beer

Rot-flower spilt among the black rocks of Malta. It wouldn't be this way.

The curse once believed inane proves legitimate. Masked in understanding, the crowds disperse, engaged in an egg-hunt, walking on dragons' teeth. Maleficent.

I'm caught between the sand and the sun. This sounds too much like a commercial. What could I advertise? Answer: The last three years of your life. It blocks 99.9% of all rays. It coats as evenly as you want.

There are still options left open to you.

Flies do more than clean up after destiny.

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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