UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: November 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

  • 5 words. No more. No less.
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 1 word.
  • 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 November 25th will be considered. We'll run the winner on November 26th.

This Month's Prize

The winner this month get's a copy of LOVE ME BACK by Merritt Tierce

Marie, a young single mother, lands a job at an upscale Dallas steakhouse. She is preternaturally attuned to the appetites of her patrons, but quickly learns to hide her private struggle behind an easy smile and a crisp white apron. In a world of long hours and late nights, where everything runs on a currency of favors, cash and cachet, Marie gives in to brutally self-destructive impulses. She loses herself in a tangle of bodies and the kind of coke that 'napalms your emotional synapses.' But obliteration—not pleasure—is her goal. Pulsing with fierce, almost feral energy, Love Me Back is an unapologetic portrait of a woman cutting a precarious path through early adulthood. In the words of Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, "Tierce roams like an avenging angel across the landscape of twenty-first century American decadence, and the truths she writes achieve a state of near-sacred subversion."

Check out what LitReactor's Keith Rawson had to say.

Your Inspiration:

Since so many of you are taxing your writing brains by attempting a 50k novel in 30 days, we'll just ask for 5 measly words in 25 days. That's only one-fifth (or .2) of a word per day. You can handle that, right? The hardest part is that your story needs to be exactly 5 words—no more, no less. And it must have a 1-word title. That's it. 

And since, in my little corner of the globe, I am looking forward to a nasty, wet November, I offer you the following inspiration:

"November Rain"  - Guns N' Roses

Here are some AWESOME images from the video to refresh your memory. Note especially the hi-lo wedding dress (pure class!), Slash's guitar solo by the church, and wet Axl.

Nothing last forever, even cold November rain...

And the Winner is...Liam Hogan

Wow, another month of GREAT entries! You all make my job HARD. But, let's congratulate Liam Hogan on his riff on a possible craigslist.org ad. Here's the winning story!


Sacrificial Altar - Used. Possibly Faulty?

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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Varmeljus's picture
Varmeljus from Sweden is reading Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler November 5, 2014 - 12:34pm


Resigned to months of darkness

CoffeeApplesMilkHoney's picture
CoffeeApplesMil... is reading some horror compilation I've had since 4th grade November 5, 2014 - 1:26pm


The seraph loosened his tie. 

Nicholaus Patnaude's picture
Nicholaus Patnaude is reading Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson November 5, 2014 - 3:27pm


Prestidigitation? Gedankenexperiment? Tintinnabulation: micturating ghouls. 

Orpheus Aquino's picture
Orpheus Aquino November 5, 2014 - 5:08pm


Nothing hurts like phantom pain.

excribo's picture
excribo is reading The Prophet November 5, 2014 - 5:48pm


November rains. Thousand souls perish.

Dawn Burton Stewart's picture
Dawn Burton Stewart from Kentucky is reading 11/22/63 November 5, 2014 - 6:46pm


His best man was better.


Devon Taylor's picture
Devon Taylor from Allentown, PA is reading Doctor Sleep November 5, 2014 - 8:09pm


Don't be afraid. Light up.

C Patrick Neagle's picture
C Patrick Neagle from Portland, Oregon is reading words, words, words November 5, 2014 - 10:05pm


The words would not come.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations November 6, 2014 - 5:52am


Sacrificial Altar - Used. Possibly Faulty?

Christopher Peterson's picture
Christopher Peterson from Illinois is reading the tea leaves... November 10, 2014 - 10:32am


Chaos reigns over masochistic brides.

Aud Fontaine's picture
Aud Fontaine from the mountains is reading Catch-22. Since like, always. November 6, 2014 - 8:09am


I wanna kill them all.

Toro's picture
Toro from Britain is reading The Thin Blue Line November 6, 2014 - 9:34am



"Why not?"


"Aww Mum!"

Jonathon Wolfer's picture
Jonathon Wolfer from Connecticut is reading Sacre Bleu By Christopher Moore November 6, 2014 - 9:39am


The church didn't burn down.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) November 6, 2014 - 1:53pm


Soon I won't just watch.

Redd Tramp's picture
Redd Tramp from Los Angeles, CA is reading Mongrels by SGJ; Sacred and Immoral: On the Writings of Chuck Palahniuk; The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault November 6, 2014 - 3:13pm


The rain is not rain.

Abelardo Valdez's picture
Abelardo Valdez from Bakersfield, California is reading Don Quixote November 6, 2014 - 3:35pm


She cries as she crosses.

will.mazgay's picture
will.mazgay from Toronto is reading Trinity by Conn Iggulden November 6, 2014 - 6:53pm


Frozen rain. Slick roads. Crash.


Eva Garcia's picture
Eva Garcia November 7, 2014 - 11:02am


Drained, blood ribbons meander downstream. 

Robert VanCleave's picture
Robert VanCleave from The Land of Ice And Snow is reading "Sex Lives of Siamese Twins" by Irving Welsh November 7, 2014 - 2:46am


Didn't need nobody after all.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday November 7, 2014 - 6:47am



The response was silence.

Kyle Tobias's picture
Kyle Tobias from Atlanta, GA is reading Damned, Blue Adept, Fool November 7, 2014 - 12:24pm


The majority isn't right. Ever.

tklepko's picture
tklepko from Montreal is reading The Inheritors November 8, 2014 - 5:49pm


Let the rain cleanse us.

Camilo Colorado's picture
Camilo Colorado from Menlo Park, CA is reading Beloved by Toni Morrison November 8, 2014 - 8:58pm


Crying, she lit the fuze. 

BarryG's picture
BarryG November 9, 2014 - 11:21am


Gene Kelly did them better.

Roger Kilbourne's picture
Roger Kilbourne from Massachusetts is reading The Word Exchange November 9, 2014 - 2:26pm


Hookers make the worst brides.

B.R. Yeager's picture
B.R. Yeager from Massachusetts is reading The Beyond (Barry Harrington) November 9, 2014 - 8:09pm


She left. I felt better.

Humpfree VanDurden's picture
Humpfree VanDurden from Phoenix is reading Stiff November 21, 2014 - 4:02pm


Some rockstars should die young.

June Faramore's picture
June Faramore from Baltimore, Hon is reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Destruction of the European Jews, Haunted, Damned, In Cold Blood, Infinite Jest November 12, 2014 - 12:59pm



Taken in morning, with scotch.

Kommanda X's picture
Kommanda X from Jupiters Moon is reading The Secret Doctrine November 22, 2014 - 7:12am


The Endless Bottoms of Portland


Antoine Dumont's picture
Antoine Dumont November 25, 2014 - 11:18am



-Shine the dark away.

David G's picture
David G November 25, 2014 - 8:30pm


Man, Chinese Democracy really sucked.


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xtreamprince's picture
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