Sunday, January 18, 2009
It getting to be that time again...
I have a bit of a passion for really horrible prose as Corey (Shelf Monkey) and Jeff (Lilley Press) will avow.
The best little bad writing contest on the web is the focus of the London Writer’s Society’s March meeting as we attempt to write the worst opening sentence to the world’s worst non-existent novel!
Why deliberately attempt to write wildly wretched prose? Well, because sometimes knowing how NOT to write is as instructive as knowing how to write. Give it a go and then enter Scott Rice’s world famous Bulwer-Lytton Bad Writing contest. 2009 entry deadline is April 15th, 2009.
Here an example of what to expect:
Overall Runner-Up winner 2008
"Hmm . . ." thought Abigail as she gazed languidly from the veranda past the bright white patio to the cerulean sea beyond, where dolphins played and seagulls sang, where splashing surf sounded like the tintinnabulation of a thousand tiny bells, where great gray whales bellowed and the sunlight sparkled off the myriad of sequins on the flyfish's bow ties, "time to get my meds checked."
Mike Hummer had been a private detective so long he could remember Preparation A, his hair reminded everyone of a rat who'd bitten into an electrical cord, but he could still run faster than greased owl snot when he was on a bad guy's trail, and they said his friskings were a lot like getting a vasectomy at Sears.
Robert B. Robeson
Want to read more? Check out the best of the worst!
Links to other excruciatingly bad writing:
Worst sex scenes ever published... in real books!
The Eye of Argon, By Jim Theis
This is really really bad. I mean, the worst...
Can cause hernias!
You have been warned!
(From the Bulwer Lytton website)
The rules to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are childishly simple:
Each entry must consist of a single sentence but you may submit as many entries as you wish. (One fellow once submitted over 3,000 entries.)
Sentences may be of any length BUT WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT ENTRIES NOT GO BEYOND 50 OR 60 WORDS, and entries must be "original" (as it were) and previously unpublished.
Surface mail entries should be submitted on index cards, the sentence on one side and the entrant's name, address, and phone number on the other.
E-mail entries should be in the body of the message, NOT IN AN ATTACHMENT (and it would be really swell if you submitted your entries in Arial 12 font). One e-mail may contain multiple entries.
Entries will be judged by categories, from "general" to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and so on. There will be overall winners as well as category winners.
The official deadline is April 15 (a date that Americans associate with painful submissions and making up bad stories). The actual deadline may be as late as May 30 (the 2009 results will be released by mid-June).
The contest accepts submissions every day of the livelong year.
Wild Card Rule: Resist the temptation to work with puns like "It was a stark and dormy night."
Finally, in keeping with the gravitas, high seriousness, and general bignitude of the contest, the grand prize winner will receive . . . a pittance.
Send your entries to:
Bulwer-Lytton Fiction ContestDepartment of English
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA
or go the website
to submit your entry electronically!