Monday, July 6, 2009

Bulwer-Lytton bad writing awards

This years winners of the Bulwer-Lytton contest have been announced. The contest rewards bad writing and is named after Edward-Bulwer Lytton, the Victorian novelist best known for his novel "The Last Days of Pompeii', and for actually starting a novel with the words "It was a dark and stormy night". The prize goes to the writer who comes up with the worst opening sentence from an imaginary novel. Here is this years winner, from David Mackenzie, of Federal Way, Washington.

"Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests."

Here's an article about this years winners.

There are so many great category winners, dishonorable mentions etc. One of my favorites is

"Their relationship hit a bump in the road, not the low, graceful kind of bump, reminiscent of a child's choo choo train-themed roller coaster, rather the kind of tall, narrow speed-bump that, if a school bus ran over it, would cause even a fat kid to fly up and bang his head on the ceiling."

Michael Reade, Durham, N.C

The complete list of winners is here:

Of course I needed to try some bad writing of my own:

"While contemplating whether or not he should post on his blog he was suddenly inspired by the congealed remnants of a Proustian madleine laying on the table, the kind of decadent treat that could have been found in the ruins of ever so decadent Pompeii if there had been a really decent bakery there, which there wasn't."

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