The Best of the Worst: 2009's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Winner

I absolute love the Bulwer-Lytton contest. The contest celebrates Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, the Victorian novelist who gave us -- and Snoopy -- the following deathless prose:

"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)

In Bulwer-Lytton's honor, modern smart alecks from around the globe come up with the worst, most belabored opening possible. This year's winner, David McKenzie, of Federal Way, Washington brings us:

"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."

Love it! But many of the runners up, in my opinion, are even more hysterical. Check 'em out.

And for even more laughs, check out the past "Lyttony" (their word, not mine!) of grand prize winners here.

I'm thinking we all need to try our hand at this next year. But something tells me that really bad writing might be as tough as doing it well. Maybe even harder. :)


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