Saturday, June 23, 2012


The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is an annual competition for the worst opening sentence of a novel. The award was inspired by Nineteenth Century novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, from the notorious opening line of his novel PAUL CLIFFORD.

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 (1830)

2011's winning line was: "Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories." — Sue Fondrie, Oshkosh, WI

However, I also liked this line in my personally-favorite category of Adventure Fiction: "From the limbs of ancient live oaks moccasins hung like fat black sausages – which are sometimes called boudin noir, black pudding or blood pudding, though why anyone would refer to a sausage as pudding is hard to understand and it is even more difficult to divine why a person would knowingly eat something made from dried blood in the first place – but be that as it may, our tale is of voodoo and foul murder, not disgusting food." — Jack Barry, Shelby, NC 

My all-time favorite, from Mystery Fiction remains: "Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."

What about you? Think you have the right stuff to be a contender? Here's mine: "Agent Nick Tempus cringed as a high-powered bullet punched through the rear window of his speeding Dodge Charger, whizzed past his head and shattered the windshield, wishing he'd signed up for a lower insurance deductible."

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