Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bad Writing Well Done

Wanda, a friend of our blog site, e-mailed us regarding the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. Some of these are absolutely hilarious. Here's a sample of a few of my favorites:



Runner-up to Adventure Category Winner
It was high noon in the jungles of South India when I began to recognize that if we didn't find water for our emus soon, it wouldn't be long before we would be traveling by foot; and with the guerilla warriors fast on our heals, I was starting to regret my decision to use poultry for transportation.

Dishonorable Mention to Historical Fiction
"Wet leaves stuck to the spinning wagon wheels like feathers to a freshly tarred heretic, reminding those who watched them of the endless movement of the leafy earth-or so they would have, if only those fifteenth-century onlookers had believed that the earth actually rotated, which they didn't, which is why it was heretical to say that it did-and which is the reason why the wagon held a freshly tarred heretic in the first place."

Dishonorable Mention to Purple Prose (several of these)
"The night resembled nothing so much as the nose of a giant Labrador in excellent health: cold, black, and wet."

After she realized the man she had fallen in love with was her long lost twin brother and they must break up immediately, they shared one last kiss that left a bitter yet sweet taste in her mouth--kind of like throwing up after eating a junior mint.

The rising sun crawled over the ridge and slithered across the hot barren terrain into every nook and cranny like grease on a Denny's grill in the morning rush, but only until eleven o'clock when they switch to the lunch menu.

Our fearless heroine (well, mostly fearless: she is deathly afraid of caterpillars, not the fuzzy little brown ones but the colossal green ones that terrorized her while she was playing in her grandmother's garden when she was just five or six years old, which, coincidentally, was also when she discovered that shaving cream really does not taste like whipped cream) awakened with a start.

Winner Science Fiction
Long, long ago in a galaxy far away, in General Hospital born I was, and quite happy were my parents, but when a youngling still I was, moved we did.

Winner Western
As soon as Sherriff Russell heard Bradshaw say, "This town ain't big enough for the both of us," he inadvertantly visualized a tiny chalk-line circle with a town sign that said 'population 1,' and the two of them both trying to stand inside of it rather ineffectively, leaning this way and that, trying to keep their balance without stepping outside of the line, and that was why he was smiling when Bradshaw shot him.

-- -- -- -- --

And here were ten others Wanda sent that I didn't find at the site but were quite humorous as well:

10) As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber he would never hear the end of it.

9) Just beyond the Narrows, the river widens.

8) With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small, straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description.

7) Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the east wall 'Andre, creep...Andre, creep...Andre, creep...

6) Omitted

5) Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from eeking out a living in a local pet store.

4) Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do.

3) Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor.

2) Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of the word 'fear', a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death....in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies.

1) The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward and with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly 'You lied!'

Numbers 2, 4, and 8 are classic. So for everyone who can write badly with the best of them, the Bulwer-Lytton Contest for 2006 is for you, and it's going on now. Best of luck!!!


4 comments:

Cameron said...

Gatorade is still yellow...
I'm chasing you down, Rich

Cameron said...

Gatorade is still yellow...
I'm chasing you down, Rich

Rich said...

Sorry for posting that twice, Cameron, but in retrospect, that comment probably deseves a double-posting.

I suppose it's nice enough to be chased down for knowing that original Gatorade is the color green.

For anyone who doesn't know what Cameron's talking about, it's a post at Thinkings which can be located at http://thinklings.org/?p=105 or just click on our link to the Thinklings stellar website and look for their most popular post.

codepoke said...

I'm embarassed to think some of them sound decent. Ouch.

I think the western is my favorite, but the lying frog is a riot!