Posted by: zhak39 | June 30, 2009

2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Named after the 19th century author Edward George Lytton-Bulwer who came up with innovative phrasing such as “the great unwashed” and “the almighty dollar.”  He also composed this opening to 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.”

Contestants in this literature parody contest submit opening lines to fictitious work that matches in spirit the prose above.  There are a variety of categories including children’s literature, purple prose, western literature.  The grand prize this year went to David McKenzie of Federal Way, WA.  He had this to share.

“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.”

I particularly liked the winner of the ‘Adventure’ category, Joe Wyatt of Amarillo TX.

“How best to pluck the exquisite Toothpick of Ramses from between a pair of acrimonious vipers before the demonic Guards of Nicobar returned should have held Indy’s full attention, but in the back of his mind he still wondered why all the others who had agreed to take part in his wife’s holiday scavenger hunt had been assigned to find stuff like a Phillips screwdriver or blue masking tape.”

Jesse Kolman of GoodYear, AZ  kept it short and intriguing.

Perry had come a long way in the nine years since being arrested by a park ranger in his ’81 Firebird tenderly holding a spiral-cut, honey-glazed ham (with the bone removed).

For the rest, go to Bulwer-Lytton Results.

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