Friday, June 30, 2006

Night: Dark, stormy, etc.

This year's winners of the Bulwer-Lytton contest, a.k.a. the "Dark and Stormy Night Contest" run by the English Department of San Jose State University. The object: write only the first line of a bad novel:

10) "As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it."

9) "Just beyond the Narrows, the river widens."

8) "With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."

7) "Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: 'Andre creep... Andre creep...Andre creep.'"

6) "Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back alley sex-change surgeon to become the woman he loved."

5) "Though Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it didn't keep her from squeaking out a living at a local pet store."

4) "Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."

3) "Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."

2) "Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of the word ' fear '; a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies."


1) "The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, ''You lied!"


Blogger cluelesscarolinagirl said...


10:04 AM  
Blogger graycie said...

I smiled at Throckmorton, grinned at Stanley, chuckled at Mike Hardware, but fell out guffawing at Princess Naivete!

Thanks for a great laugh.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

Are you sure these are from this year? I've seen several in previous years' lists, including the "winner."

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great laugh to star the morning- thank you for sharing!

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Star / start - stupid fingers!

11:53 PM  
Blogger Mike M. said...

I seems that perhaps there are either not winners, or they are winners from a pre-2005 year.

Here are the 2005 winners:

and the BLFC site says the winners are announced in July and not winners have been posted for 2006. It also warns of hoax winners.

Perhaps we could have a contest to write our own here on the blog over the holiday weekend.

2:45 AM  
Blogger SuperHolmie said...

My favorite winner ever was from I don't know when, and it went something like, "I opened the manual to my Windows 95 and fell into a magical world." ROFL

5:45 PM  
Blogger Baruch Grazer said...

I tried to read beafsteak tomato santa out loud to my wife, and laughed until it hurt like bejeezus. Then the princess issued the coup de grace.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Jim Mason said...

The "winner" was certainly hilarious, but it read like a complete story.

My vote for actual worst was the river widens. I can just picture an entire intermnible yet stupid novel springing forth from that insipid sentance.


1:33 PM  
Blogger David said...

I would buy the Mike Hardware novel -

12:37 PM  
Anonymous highschoolkid07 said...

I like #10, 2 and 1! :D Haha! I would buy Mike Hardware, too!

Superhomie, that is awesome! Ahh!

Mike, thanks for the links! These are so terrific!

1:03 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

So if I have a completed novel whose first line would fit right in ... does that mean you'd all recommend some editing before rushing the query letters off to literary agents?

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, the deception of frogs and men. You're so very good at it, all of you.
Ribbit etc.....

9:26 PM  

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