Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bulwer-Lytton Writing

Years ago I got interested in the Bulwar-Lytton Fiction Contest for bad writing. In 1830, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton wrote the immortal "It was a dark and stormy night" opening that Snoopy plagiarized repeatedly in his novel writing in Peanuts. Unfortunately, my best (or worst) effort got lost in one or another computer change or hard disk crash, so I'll need to start over. I'll have lots of time to work on this. The deadline for the 2007 contest was June 30, just two days ago.

Categories are:


Carried inexorably by that great steaming beast of hope and lured by the irresistible pull of a bargain, Lars and Ingrid trekked doggedly across the seemingly endless land, enduring countless, nearly unspeakable hardships (the unscheduled closure of the famous Wall Drug Store in South Dakota--not mentioned in any travel guide or website--being foremost, although for Ingrid their inability to enjoy a simple roadside picnic lunch in the relentness Kansas wind would run a close second), naively unaware of the ultimate and even more horrifying price they would pay at their destination--attending a sales presentation for a timeshare vacation property, only after which would they receive heavily discounted tickets to Disneyland, a promotion that in itself would in time reveal even more disappointing surprises.

Children's Literature

Just as Mickey's mouth launched a dewy louie, Minnie mouthed "Donald, duck!" (carefully avoiding consonants that would reveal her lisp), then hissed "Hooey!" as the projectile cleared her blue-hatted friend and headed, sparkling like evening fireworks, toward the crowd, even though it was only late afternoon on Main Street, U.S.A.

Detective Fiction

Fantasy Fiction

Historical Fiction

Purple Prose (bad similes)


Science Fiction

Vile Puns


The contest is sponsored by the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University. Here's the winning entry from the 2006 contest, written by Jim Guigli of Sacramento, CA.

Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.

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