Columns > Published on September 30th, 2014

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, 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. You can write less, but not more.
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 10 words or less.
  • 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 September 29th will be considered. We'll run the winner on Septemeber 30th.

This Month's Prize

Titan Books is again offering a hard copy of one of its hottest offerings— Butterfly Skin by Sergey Kuznetsov and Andrew Bromfield. 

Moscow is plagued with a series of gruesome murders. Ksenia, an ambitious young editor in the news department of an online journal decides to track down the serial killer, devising an elaborate website to entrap him. She soon realises, however, that her obsession with the psychopath reflects something disturbing: her own unconscious fascination with the sexual savagery of the murders.

Your Inspiration:

MY BIRTHDAY! I have never been one of those Birthday-Zillas (you know...the people who start reminding you about their birthdays MONTHS in advance, who insist you attend some elaborate festivity in their honor, and who think they should get as many presents at age 38 as they got at age 8?!) Well, I usually let my birthday pass on by undetected by everyone except my very close family and friends. Not this year. This year, I demand a BIRTHDAY STORY!! 

In honor of my birthday this month, I am soliciting birthday-themed flash fiction entries. Love me. 

And the winner is...BarryG

Wow, thanks you guys!!! I loved all these birthday stories and kind birthday wishes. It was incredibly hard to pick just one. I finally had to go with the one that made me laugh (snort, actually) out loud: the hilarious entry from BarryG. While I have never jumped scantily clad out of a cake (and likely never will--), I can totally see that it'd be just my luck that I'd be faced with a room full of dissappointed and digusted children. Thanks, BarryG, you made turning 33 much funnier.

The Birthday Surprise

"Happy Birthday," cooed Taylor, bursting semi-clad from the cake. Discovering an audience of traumatised pre-schoolers in partyhats, Taylor sighed and resolved to change booking agents.

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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