Yes, she's strange and different...but not THAT different.

07 August 2007

Bulwer-Lytton Silver Anniversary

No, it's not the wedding anniversary of Bob and Bobbi Bulwer-Lytton. However, it IS the 25th anniversary of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest ("Where WWW means 'Wretched Writers Welcome'"), sponsored annually by the English Department at San Jose State University. The contest is named for Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who graced literature with the phrases "the pen is mightier than the sword," "the great unwashed," and "the almighty dollar" in addition to the perennial favorite opening line
"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."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)
I wrote about last year's winners here and you can go read all the numerous winners (and Dishonorable Mentions) for 2007 here, but as an appetizer before that main course, I give you the following:

The Overall Winner!
Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.
Grand Panjandrum's Award
LaVerne was undeniably underdressed for this frigid weather; her black, rain-soaked tank top offered no protection and seemed to cling to her torso out of sheer rage, while her tie-dyed boa scarf hung lifeless around her neck like a giant, exhausted, pipe cleaner recently discarded after near-criminal overuse by an obviously sadistic (and rather flamboyant) plumber.
Winner: Children's Literature
Danny, the little Grizzly cub, frolicked in the tall grass on this sunny Spring morning, his mother keeping a watchful eye as she chewed on a piece of a hiker they had encountered the day before.
Winner: Vile Puns
I was in a back alley in Fiji, fighting desperately and silently for my life, fighting desperately for oxygen, clawing at the calm and almost gentle pressure of the fabric held over my face by implacable, ebony thighs when I realized -- he was killing me softly with his sarong.

Bad writing at its best!

  • On 8/07/2007 7:17 PM, Blogger soccer mom in denial said…

    So do these poor souls intentially write badly or do they think this is quality literature?

  • On 8/07/2007 11:04 PM, Blogger Diesel said…

    Soccer mom - It's intentional. I used to have a book that was a compilation of these. There were a lot of really funny ones.

    I love the grizzly cub one.

  • On 8/08/2007 9:28 AM, Blogger Jami said…

    In Bulwer-Lytton's writings it was not intentional but for everyone in the contest, it most certainly is. I used to work with a guy who submitted an entry every year (and probably still does), and he worked very hard to produce good bad writing.

  • On 8/09/2007 8:43 AM, Blogger Jen said…

    I love this contest... and I just wait for the winners!


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