Monday, August 01, 2005

2005 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Every year, the English Department of San Jose State University sponsors the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which entrants must submit the beginning sentence of the worst possible novel. The contest originated from the following sentence, which Bulwer-Lytton himself wrote in 1830:
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."
This year's grand winner is Dan McKay of Fargo ND:
As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.
Kevin Hogg, of Cranbrook, BC, is the winner of the "Dark and Stormy Night" genre:
"It was a dark and stormy night, although technically it wasn't black or anything -- more of a gravy color like the spine of the 1969 Scribner's Sons edition of "A Farewell to Arms," and, truth be told, the storm didn't sound any more fierce than the opening to Leon Russell's 1975 classic, "Back to the Island."
My favorite in Glen Lawrie's entry for Romance:
Billy Bob gushed like a broken water main about his new love: "She's got long, beautiful, drain-clogging hair, more curves than an under-the-sink water trap, and she moves with the ease of a motorized toilet snake through a four-inch sewer line, but what she sees in me, a simple plumber, I'll never know."
(We won't either)

For more winners of the contest, go to the 2005 Results page.

Thanks to Ed Willet for pointing me to them.

1 comment:

Bookfraud said...

now that was funny stuff. it's hard to write badly -- it takes talent!