Friday, May 1, 2009

Bulwer-Lytton Contest

Ryan here.

Dad sent around an email ages ago with a top ten list of entries in something called the Bulwer-Lytton Contest, or the Dark and Stormy Night Contest. The goal is "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels."

On a writer's site, one of my friends from my old singles' ward is holding a short story contest in a few weeks, and to generate some awareness and excitement for it, I suggested we hold our own little Bulwer-Lytton contest.

It's been going on for two days now and we're approaching 140 entries, and I thought I'd post a few of my favorites from the bunch (not all of them are mine):

1). Dawn—spuds at seven paces, and Gottfried fell dead without a scream, a russet potato lodged fatally in his right ventricle.

2). Antonio knew that he too could find love—despite his being a JAR OF TANG!

3). In the beginning, the Narrator was missing, and the story was forced to go on without the lazy bugger.

4). On the day it happened, sooty gray clouds swaggered across a pink-streaked sky—oh, gads, I just lost my train of thought.

5). William couldn’t believe how much clearer his sinuses felt after the Resurrection.

6). The day that changed my life was the day that my belly button lint first called me, "Da da!"

7). The smell of fresh french fries filled the air with a greasy saltiness that made the mouth water, and Mr. Potatohead knew his wife had done something awful.

8). Seriously vexed, Silvio the Elf riffed his long, slender fingers through his coiffed flaxen locks and lamented to his pink unicorn, “Prunella, why do all the maidens think I’m gay?”

9). No one else had detachable fingers like Arthur.

10). Screaming denials at the doctor, I declared there was no way I could have swine flu—although there was that one night I got drunk with Miss Piggy . . .

I'll include other entries from the contest in the upcoming Christmas Chronicle. It's been a fun creative exercise, and if anyone wants to take a crack at it, feel free to post in the comments section.


Mom Alleman said...

We had a lot of fun reading through this list--hopefully, the kids will add to it and we can make it part of the Christmas Chronicles. Although, I'm not sure about #10 with Miss Piggy???

John said...

This is Sam.

Nice list. I liked the one about the missing narrator and the vexed elf among others.

Mary was trying to come up with some opening lines, unfortunately they would all make for great novels, so she is disqualified.

I on the other hand have dozens of openings for terrible books, including, but not limited to, "I begin with an apology to the reader for my irrational fear of punctuation but if you please endure with me as I tell you of my life's great adventures summed up in one sentence 300 pages long and it begins in a hospital room warm then cold then bright and loud and then warm again...."

Cassie said...

I love it! You're a natural! Tell Mary that we won't hold it against her if the line leads to a great novel, we'd still love to read them.

In fact, would you mind if I entered yours into my friend's B-L contest? I'd list it as yours, of course.


Mary said...

Sure, you can enter it.

Mary tried to come up with more lines tonight, but she is well rested - therefore she is not as funny as she was yesterday so all comments from her on this subject have come to a close until further sleepless nights.

Lela Mom said...

The "lazy bugger" one has got to be a Ryan line, I've heard him say that before. And I really like Sam's opening paragraph...or was that a short story? And I can't believe that no one has entered the most famous line of all.
Once upon a time...