Bulwer-Lytton Contest Winners Announced


The winners of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest at San Jose State University have been announced. The Bulwer-Lytton Contest asks entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst novels never written. The awards are named for Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, who began his 1830 novel Paul Clifford with the line “It was a dark and stormy night,” later to be immortalized by Snoopy. In fact, those six words were merely the initial clause in a first sentence that really boggles the mind:bulwer-lytton.jpg

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 winner doesn’t do much for me, but I always like the genre entries; this year, I particularly like the runner-up in the Detective category, from Mark Schweizer of Hopkinsville, Kentucky:

She’d been strangled with a rosary-not a run-of-the-mill rosary like you might get at a Catholic bookstore where Hail Marys are two for a quarter and indulgences are included on the back flap of the May issue of “Nuns and Roses” magazine, but a fancy heirloom rosary with pearls, rubies, and a solid gold cross, a rosary with attitude, the kind of rosary that said, “Get your Jehovah’s Witness butt off my front porch.”

Amber Dubois of Denver contributed this dishonorable mention in the Purple Prose category:

She had curves that just wouldn’t quit, like on one of those car commercials where a stunt driver slides a sexy new sports car around hairpin turn after hairpin turn while some poor musician, down on his luck and having been forced to sell out his dream of superstardom for a lousy 30-second ad jingle, sings “Zoom, zoom, zoom” in the background.

I ask you: For a contest named after Bulwer-Lytton, what could be more appropriate than being an also-ran? snoopy.gif

Links: 2007 Bulwer-Lytton Contest Winners; bulwer-lytton.com; Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton; the Official Earl of Lytton Website.

Images: Edward Bulwer-Lytton, from Wikipedia; Snoopy.


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