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Spontaneous Combustion

Spontaneous Combustion is a classic "play-in-a-day" theater exercise in literary event form. We gather writers together, provide three story prompts and give them 24 hours to compose an original piece. Our favorites are invited back later to prose-slam their short stories for a public audience. In the end, everyone casts a vote and the people-chosen Top 10 tales become the next volume.

SpoCo2 available now!

Spontaneous Combustion Vol. II short story collection

 Spontaneous Combustion Series 

Spotaneou Combustion Writing Event Cover


Spontaneous Combustion is the world's first book-in-a-day event. Inspired by an old theater tradition at USD, madman Editor-in-Chief T. Martin Crouse thought it could make a bombastic writing exercise. Our experience has proven him to be correct.


During Spontaneous Combustion, authors have exactly 24 hours to write an original short story for review to be published in a bound volume immortalizing the event.


A lucky 20-50 authors, amateurs and professionals alike, participate in this powder-keg of creative output in social event form. They receive story prompts from Spontaneous Combustion staff, such as:


  • A line of dialogue (i.e. " ‘It’s time to get surREAL,’ shouted Dali.")

  • A character object (i.e. broadsword, bonnet, monogrammed speedo)

  • A setting (i.e. Pyramids of Giza, Taj Mahal, Lakeville)


Authors have one day, and not a minute more, to incorporate the prompts into a unique short story and submit it to Spontaneous Combustion editors. One week later, after the editors have selected their 15 favorite stories, the public gathers to experience the finalist tales before voting on which ten stories will go into the final book.


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