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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Worst Fiction Contest Deadline Approaches

           Got a first line or two for the Great American Novel?   If it is bad in a literary way, you might win the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.  The contest deadline is April 15.  You can email or snail mail your entries.  Go to the official web site for the contest rules and submissions of electronic entries.
           The site gives the history of the contest which was instituted in 1982 by the English Department of San Jose State University.  The contest is roughly based on the first line of a novel by Edward George Lord Bulwer-Lytton, "It was a dark and stormy night . . ." The line is considered one of the worst in English literature because it rambles on for 50 more words.  Remember, Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy's
efforts at novel writing.  It was Charles Shultz joke to have Snoopy's novels always begin with the "dark and stormy night" line.  
        Try your hand at writing a bad novel opening and enter the contest.  The official web site offers some hints and tips and gives examples of winning lines from the past.  You'll probably discover that deliberately writing bad is not easy. 
       Molly Ringle of Seattle, WA was the winner in 2010 with this opening line:
"For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil."


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