Just a reminder!

Hello everyone!

Though we made the announcement last week that Issue 4 of Promptly would be our last (and we were breaking from the prompts for our last month to concentrate on reading submissions), we’d like to remind you that there’s still time to submit! If you have writing inspired by ANY of the prompts from May-September, send it to us by October 31 via our submit page to be considered for the fall contest and final issue!

We will announce the winners of the fall contest after October 31, and the final issue of Promptly will be published in November 2014.

We’ve gotten some wonderful submissions so far, and look forward to reading any that are yet to come!

Thanks once again,

The P&C Staff


A Very Important Announcement

Dear readers, writers, and word enthusiasts,

We cannot thank you enough for the support you’ve shown Prompt & Circumstance. From its inception, sparked by a “six words” challenge between two friends, through its monthly prompts and multiple issues of Promptly, P&C has grown most into what we hoped it would be. More than just a website, and more than just a publication, it is a community, a gathering of pilgrims from all walks and all directions, all traveling to a common meeting place: the hallowed ground that is the blank page. Where they go from there is always up to them, but that thundering hush, that quiet surge of potential inherent in that starting place is one that has brought so many of us together over the years.

However, everything has a lifespan and a time when it feels right to come to a close, and we’ve decided we have reached that point with Prompt & Circumstance. We could not be happier with what P&C has been, could not have taken more joy in seeing people find some inspiration in our prompts to tell their stories (in whatever form they came), and could not have been prouder of the resultant work we were so lucky to have the opportunity to publish. However, this issue will be our last.

We are still reading submissions for our fall contest and will announce the winners soon, and of course, we look forward to publishing our final issue of Promptly soon after. Stay tuned for more details soon, and thank you, thank you, thank you, all of you who read, wrote, and followed us over the last couple years.

-Shenan, Brandi, and Erin

Promptly, Issue 3 now live!

Hello again, dear readers, writers, and general word-enthusiasts! Issue 3 of Promptly is now LIVE on our site, and this time we’ve given you three different ways to read it! As usual, you can view or download it as a PDF and read it on Issuu, but now you can also read the individual pieces and interviews on the Prompt & Circumstance site itself. And man, we’re just saying…you’re going to want to. Issue 3 features the winners of our Spring 2014 contest, along with their takes on writing, process, and creativity, and we couldn’t be prouder of the poetry and fiction included there. There is, for instance, a sinister family secret lurking behind a stop at a diner in Simon Barth’s short fiction piece Big Gulp,” a dream-like flow of images from the grotesque and carnal to the holy and reverent in Robbi Nester’s poem “Leavings,” a blurring of the lines between romance novel tropes and real life in Callie Leuck’s story “We Are Not In A Romantic Comedy,” and much, much more. So check it all out on our Current Issue page and read (and write!) on!

Happy Birthday, P&C!

Dear readers, writers, and devotees of the blank page,

It was a year ago this month that our editors launched Prompt & Circumstance, inspired by a conversation about favorite words and phrases, and a challenge to write something–anything–that used all six of the favorite words/phrases named (they were, in case anyone is curious: dilapidated, snow blindness, radio silence, vampire bat, lemonade, and tiny kitten) . We could not be more astounded at how much P&C has grown and how many people have found inspiration in our pages in the subsequent months–not to mention at the incredible work that has been produced as a result of our prompts! We are so, so grateful for the support and enthusiasm you all have shown by reading, writing, letting us pick your brains for features like Author Spotlight, and allowing us to showcase your work in Promptly, and we hope this community of writers surrounding P&C will only continue to grow.

That said, we are gearing up to announce the winners of our Spring 2014 contest very soon, so be on the lookout! All contest winners will be featured in Issue 3 of Promptly, due out later this month. In the meantime, head over to the site to check out the May 2014 prompts and get writing!

From us to you,

Brandi, Shenan, and Erin

April Showers Bring…April Prompts!

Hello and happy National Poetry Month, dear readers and writers! Whether it’s poetry that gets your creative gears going, or fiction, or non-fiction, or experimental Mandarin-language playwriting, there are new Six Words, Run With It, Whatta Character, and Imagine prompts up at Prompt & Circumstance to inspire your writing this month.

April is also the last month to submit to our spring contest, for which winners will be announced in early May. Remember, you can send us something inspired by any of the prompts from December 2013 to April 2014! So pick up those pens, calibrate those typewriters, boot up those hard drives, and write! Then head over to our submissions page to see how you can send us what you come up with, and be eligible to win awards and publication in our next issue of Promptly!

Until then,

-Brandi, Shenan, & Erin

Author Spotlight: Lavina Blossom

“It might be a push-button phone
or one with a dial, or a numbered scrap
of burlap tacked to the wall at which
I toss croutons, stones, hacky sacks.
Once, it was a stack
of drawers I had to pull out
and push back in the right sequence. Always,
I’m inept, my core strength gone, my fingers,
wrist, hands jerking or slipping. The dial tone
continues, the videographer nudges me, says
I’ve neglected to enter the area code. I try
again and again to call until
I’m certain it’s far too late.”

So begins Lavina Blossom’s poem “Recurring Dream,” the third piece of writing and contestant in our Spring 2014 contest to be featured in Prompt & Circumstance’s “Author Spotlight” series. The “Author Spotlight” series intends to highlight some of the work submitted to us this season and the talented authors behind them.

Trying to create a poem or a story imbued with whole meaning from an initial flash of inspiration can often feel like wading through a dream: one that feels intensely true, but is surrounded still in a shroud of mystery. Lavina took our Six Words prompt from December 2013 and created a poem that is both ethereal and immediate, in the way our most vivid dreams are, exploring what it means to try to find meaning in them, and to embrace their enigma.

Read the rest of this poem, and Lavina’s interview, here! And feel free to share this link with others, if you like what you read.

Keep reading and writing, as always!

-Shenan, Brandi, and Erin

Author Spotlight: Simon Barth

“Retching. Retch. What a perfect fit. Retch. Retch.” As the boy reflected silently on onomatopoeia from the driver’s seat, his mother sat next to him, reflecting on the word in her own, more vocal way into her late husband’s treasured Big Gulp. “Traveled a million miles, and it’s gonna travel a million more,” he used to brag, the weathered, reusable container a small monument to his ability to stretch a dollar, to work hard, to make each drop of sweat count, to make much for his family out of the little he provided.

So begins “Big Gulp,” a short fiction piece by Simon Barth inspired by our Whatta Character prompt from November 2013, and the tale featured in our second “Author Spotlight” on Prompt & Circumstance. “Author Spotlight” features are intended to showcase the work that people are writing from our prompts and submitting to us, as well as probe writers’ minds on various aspects of their creative processes. All works featured this series are in the running for our current contest and for publication in Promptly.

Head over to Simon’s page to read the rest of this story, as well as find out what inspired him to write about these characters, how a near-breakup in a bar once resulted in a lost song lyric, and how Hall & Oates play a prominent role in his turbulent creative process…

Check Out “Author Spotlight” at Prompt & Circumstance!

Hello, dear readers! We are proud to present to you our first feature in a series called “Author Spotlight.” This is where we highlight members of the awesome community that makes Prompt & Circumstance possible. “Author Spotlight” features are intended to showcase the work that people are writing from our prompts and submitting to us, as well as probe writers’ minds on various aspects of their creative processes. All works featured this series are in the running for our current contest and for publication in Promptly. We thought this would be a fabulous way to give our contributors a place to shine, as well as deliver fresh literary content to you on a regular basis, so you don’t have to wait for each issue of Promptly to see what kinds of things our talented community is producing!

So head on down to the “Author Spotlight” page and check out our first installation: two poems and a stellar interview by Robbi Nester.

As always, thank you for reading and writing!

Brandi, Shenan, & Erin

New Year, New Things Afoot at P&C!

Hello fellow writers and poets!

To begin, we want to give you all our sincere thanks for supporting Prompt & Circumstance and helping to make it everything it’s become in 2013. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate everyone who has read, written, or found inspiration in our prompts since our launch last May. Next, we have exciting news to share about some new approaches we’re taking with P&C, starting in the new year!

First, we’ll now be holding two contests per year, one in the spring and one in the autumn, in order to determine the contents and contributors of Promptly. To help facilitate this, P&C will now be accepting rolling submissions, each of which will be considered for the upcoming contest. The winners will not only receive an award but also have their writing featured in Promptly. If you’ve submitted to us in the last couple months, your pieces will be rolled over to the spring contest.

Second, in addition to seeing the published versions of our best submissions in our issues of Promptly, we’ll also publish individual pieces on our site throughout the year, along with some fun “Author Spotlight” interviews with our writers/poets so that we can share with readers how these talented individuals used our prompts to produce their final work. Of course, these pieces will also be in the running for the upcoming contests and for publication in Promptly.

For more information about the Spring 2014 contest, head to our submissions page– and check out our December prompts to help you get a head start!

Thanks again to everyone in this wonderful community of writers, and we hope you and yours a wonderful holiday season and new year!

-Shenan, Brandi, and Erin

November Prompts!

Welcome to November, fellow writers and lovers of literature! Hopefully Halloween has pricked your sense of whimsy and mystery, and left you ready to write in the days to come. Head over to Prompt & Circumstance this month for some jumping-off points to get you started; there are characters, conversations, and untold stories galore, just waiting to be tapped. November marks the last set of prompts for our fall series, and remember, anything you write inspired by any of the prompts from September, October, or November is fair game to submit to our December issue of the quarterly-published Promptly!

So check it out, write, and show the world what you’ve got!

–Brandi & Shenan