Friday, March 22, 2013

Bulwer-Lytton Bad Writing Awards

Below is a random sampling of winners and (dis)honourable mentions from the Bulwer-Lytton Awards for 2012.  The awards are given for the best (worst) opening lines for a (would-be) novel.  Bulwer-Lytton was the author of the line that has now become the standard-bearer of cheesy opening lines, even Snoopy used it:

“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.”  -EG Bulwer-Lytton, "Paul Clifford" 1830.

And now, here is the best of the worst:
“Chester and Harry, you don't have the stomach for this, but Dick and I do,” the leggy blonde said in a throaty voice as she headed back in to finger – and hopefully nail – the brains and muscle of the strong-arm syndicate, the heel that gutted her niece. — Bill Hartmann, Dallas, TX

 Inspector Murphy stood up when he saw me, then looked down at the lifeless body, crumpled like a forlorn Snicker’s candy wrapper, and after a knowing glance at Detective Wilson pointed to the darkening crimson pool spreading from the stiff’s shattered noggin, and said, “You settle it, Gibson; does that puddle look more like a duck or a cow?” — Carl Stich, Mariemont, Ohio

The blood seeped out of the body like bad peach juice from a peach that had been left on one side so long the bottom became rotten while it still looked fine on the top but had started to attract fruit flies, and this had the same effect, but with regular flies, that is not say there weren’t some fruit flies around because, after all, this was Miami. — Howard Eugene Whitright, Seal Beach, CA

The drugged parrots pelted the village like a hellish rain of feathered fanny packs stuffed with claws and porridge, rendering Claudia’s makeshift rabbit-skin umbrella more symbolic than anything else. — Jeff Coleburn, West Chester, PA

Their love began as a tailor, quickly measuring the nooks and crannies of their personalities, but it soon became the seamstress of subterfuge, each of them aware of the others lingual haberdashery: Mindy trying to create a perfectly suited garment to display in public and Stan only concerned with the inseam. — D. M. Dunn, Bloomington, IN

The two power-hungry, 20-something biographers met with me incognito and settled on penning my memoirs, one on a percentage of future sales and one on upfront remuneration; so there is one yuppie I pay, one yuppie I owe, ghostwriters in disguise. — Peter Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA

Her skin was like flocked wallpaper and her eyes had seen better days, but when her bloodless lips murmured “Hi, Sailor,” my heart melted from the inside out like one of those chocolate-covered ice cream bars on a summer day that runs down your arm and gets all over your new shirt. — James Macdonald, Vancouver, B.C.

The syncopated sound of the single-cylinder steam motor, designed by Mier Vander, reminded Mier of the time his father took him to the Mollen Bros travelling circus to see the “Corpulent Lady” and to sit upon her lap immediately following her lunch of sauerbraten and ale. — Jim Tierney, Murrieta, CA 



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