I knew the jet fuel of love couldn’t melt the steel beams of my heart.
May 13, 2018 3:59 PM   Subscribe

The 2018 winners of the Lyttle Lytton Contest have been posted. (previously)

What is the Lyttle Lytton? From the organizer:

"The annual Bulwer‐Lytton Fiction Contest challenges entrants to pen the world’s most atrocious first line to a novel.  Winners (and runners‐up and honorable mentions) are generally very long... Bleah.  Brevity is the soul of wit, and this goes on and on and on.  This is more my speed:

Jennifer stood there, quietly ovulating (Adam Cadre)

The non-action of “stood”, the vagueness of “there”, the involuntary process of ovulation treated as an activity, the inappropriateness of measuring the volume of that non‐activity, the uncomfortably gynecological detail of mentioning it at all—​all combine to make a cringeworthy sentence.  And since it’s only five words long, its impact is instant; you don’t have readers slogging through clause after clause after clause.  So in 2001 I started a contest much like the Bulwer-Lytton, only with entrants limited to 25 words.  (This has since been changed to 200 characters.)"
posted by crazy with stars (25 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ooh! Allie Brosh with the hot elf cave action!
posted by The otter lady at 4:05 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Oy! Jordan Peterson with the pointing eyes!
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 4:35 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


How is nothing from Ready Player One on here? Would it cause some sort of overload?
posted by daisystomper at 5:15 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Lots of good found stuff from terrible people, I mean writers.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:17 PM on May 13


The tongue has no bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart.

I will definitely be dropping this one into future conversations.
posted by snofoam at 5:21 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


My problem with the Bulwer‐Lyttons and Little Lyttons is that the submissions are almost entirely comic — it’s a much harder game to write earnestly bad sentences....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:30 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


it’s a much harder game to write earnestly bad sentences....

Fortunately, Jordan Peterson is here - to save you, and to save all of us.

(That could be my own entry, now that I think about it.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:36 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Rats, my entry didn't make it, & I had one this year which I thought at least stood a chance.

The low clouds on the eastern horizon heralded the proximate arrival of the low clouds which were currently on the eastern horizon.

I could have workshopped it a bit, but I thought that adding "precipitously" would be too obviously borrowing from Poe, & I was going for more of a Dan Brown feel.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:07 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Oh, wait, this is a different section form the Bulwer‐Lyttons? I STILL HAVE A (marginal) CHANCE!
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:11 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


This is no mere vegan pork—​it is nonviolence incarnate!  (Or incarnitas, as the case may be.)

I see he's trying to enter his own competition.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:23 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


My contribution
posted by shalom at 6:28 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


How is nothing from Ready Player One on here? Would it cause some sort of overload?

Already won in 2013.
posted by sammyo at 6:43 PM on May 13


I got inspired enough that I submitted another entry that came to me in the shower just now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:58 PM on May 13


man, it takes a tongue, a set of lungs, a tiny meat harp, and a trachea to break a heart.

at minimum.

and what holds all that up?

bones!

[bones ftw]
posted by sixswitch at 7:53 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


The tongue The common octopus has no bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart.

I know which novel I'd rather read.
posted by oulipian at 8:17 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]


My problem with the Bulwer‐Lyttons and Little Lyttons is that the submissions are almost entirely comic — it’s a much harder game to write earnestly bad sentences....
posted by GenjiandProust


Bulwer‐Lytton was a hilarious writer! The Caxtons is one of the funniest books I've ever read!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:29 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


The puddle detective Amelia Stone stepped into reminded her of a pool of blood or sins as dark as the muddy water.
I was disappointed that this sentence didn't turn out to be about a puddle detective. I'd read that novel.

She could have a crossover with Dirk Gently
posted by a car full of lions at 10:20 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]


Dammit, I didn't make it this year. My submission:
Bronco's standards were high, but his temper was short; Betty knew better than to tether with an Alamo man!
Was perhaps the kind of bad that only I find funny (over-wrought, not-quite-floating-opposites, Betty's name having one syllable more than the rhythm of the patter wants, and then the lack of understanding of history) but whatever. I'm not bitter. I'm not planning and scheming for next year...
posted by Navelgazer at 7:38 AM on May 14


Oh, and of the winners this year, The Bullet Journal of Kelsey Joy was the clear stand-out for me.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:41 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Navelgazer: "Oh, and of the winners this year, The Bullet Journal of Kelsey Joy was the clear stand-out for me."

Can you explain this one to me? Like our beloved judge I genuinely didn't get it.
posted by crazy with stars at 9:44 AM on May 14


Well I don't know much about Bullet Journaling, but it's a sort-of-trendy organizational / life hack tool that basically boils down to Journaling your day with bullet points, for things scheduled, ideas, anniversaries, errands, etc, marked with different symbols for what category things fall into. It's actually really helpful to those whose brains operate on that sort of wavelength. But it's also a trendy millennial thing among a certain sort of "driven but maybe kinda disorganized" go-getter type.

So...

Having Kelsey Joy's (fuck me, that name is hilariously perfect) list be:

1. Anniversary with "partner in crime" (whether this is a bf/gf or BFF is ambiguous, which I love)

2. OB/GYN appointment (of course this book will involve some level of detail into the state of Kelsey's uterus)

3. LSAT studying (Because of course she's gotta get into the best law school over the course of the novel)

4. Solve sister's murder (setting up the actual spine of the story, but in such a weird perky way that it feels crass.)

Now I've overexplained the hell out of it, but now I aso kind of want to read the imaginary book.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:17 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Oh! And this entry is for "1/1 - 1/7," so presumably she's doing this as a new year's resolution and this is her first one.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:42 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


His tentaclular tongue could open a box or a heart, or crush either.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:08 PM on May 14


We'll see how this one does in the regular competition -- I'm kinda proud of it:

The ground was green at last, Winter finally surrendering the waning snows to reveal a corpulent seething mass, as spring came spongily yet again to this damnable temperate swamp.

Hell, I should finish the book - it's off to a good enough start.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:48 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Aaand I’m 3 paragraphs into it already, which is more fiction than I’ve written since about 2012. It’ll be amusing to see where it stalls out.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:08 PM on May 14


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