Bulwer-Lytton contest results
July 16, 2003 9:19 AM   Subscribe

The annual Bulwer-Lytton contest recognizes and awards the very worst opening sentences found in novels. The 2003 results are in (2002 results, 2001 results) and the winning entry begins "They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese..." [via girlhacker]
posted by mathowie (11 comments total)
This is almost too painful to read. Almost.
posted by dcodea at 9:22 AM on July 16, 2003

Sorry, matt, but these weren't found in novels. They were just made up.
Wait. I'm not sorry. I'm completely glad that these weren't published in novel form.
posted by graventy at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2003

Personally, I'm a fan of Adam Cadre's Lyttle Lytton, which recognizes that brevity is the soul of wit. One of my favorites:

"Jennifer stood there, quietly ovulating."
posted by tweebiscuit at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2003

And personally, I found the runner-up far funnier than the winner, which is just a lame joke.
posted by tweebiscuit at 9:45 AM on July 16, 2003

As noted by graventy, this is a contest to see how bad an opening you can write, and you don't have to bother with the rest of the novel. I would like to see a contest to find the worst opening of a novel actually published during 2002. Nominations?
posted by beagle at 9:48 AM on July 16, 2003

eeeww, someone from my hometown made that list!
posted by archimago at 9:51 AM on July 16, 2003

Normally I find these hilarious, but this year's batch is not quite up to scratch IMHO. Agree w/tweebiscuit - the runner-up is better.
posted by widdershins at 9:57 AM on July 16, 2003

Beagle, last December there was a Literary Review Bad Sex Prize 2002 thread. It's kind of a specialized subset, I know, but it is hilarious. And the entries are from works that were actually published (I agree, that's better than a contest to deliberately write badly.)
posted by pmurray63 at 11:11 AM on July 16, 2003

I find the Bulwer-Lytton entrants (or at least winners) to be too much the same thing. Extra long entries containing elaborate metaphors. Surely there are other (preferably shorter) forms of bad writing that might be included.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:24 AM on July 16, 2003

I'm just strangely fond of this one:

Colonel Cleatus Yorbville had been one seriously bored astronaut for the first few months of his diplomatic mission on the third planet of the Frangelicus XIV system, but all that had changed on the day he'd discovered that his tiny, multipedal and infinitely hospitable alien hosts were not only edible but tasted remarkably like that stuff that's left on the pan after you've made cinnamon buns and burned them a little.
posted by FormlessOne at 12:37 PM on July 16, 2003

I nominate myself.
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:17 AM on July 17, 2003

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