It was a dark and stormy night….

Thanks to my friend Victor Leginsky for reminding me of the Bulwer-Lytton writing competition. This is a very funny contest to judge the absolutely worst opening to a novel, along the lines of ‘It was a dark and stormy night.’

The competition is pretty stiff. Here’s a link to past winners: 

I’ve posted some examples of winners below that make me howl. (Or scream, as the case may be.)  My personal favourites:

“The countdown had stalled at T minus 69 seconds when Desiree, the first female ape to go up in space, winked at me slyly and pouted her thick, rubbery lips unmistakably–the first of many such advances during what would prove to be the longest, and most memorable, space voyage of my career.” Martha Simpson, Glastonbury, Connecticut (1985 Winner)

“As the newest Lady Turnpot descended into the kitchen wrapped only in her celery-green dressing gown, her creamy bosom rising and falling like a temperamental soufflé, her tart mouth pursed in distaste, the sous-chef whispered to the scullery boy, ‘I don’t know what to make of her.'”Laurel Fortuner, Montendre, France (1992 Winner)

“A small assortment of astonishingly loud brass instruments raced each other lustily to the respective ends of their distinct musical choices as the gates flew open to release a torrent of tawny fur comprised of angry yapping bullets that nipped at Desdemona’s ankles, causing her to reflect once again (as blood filled her sneakers and she fought her way through the panicking crowd) that the annual Running of the Pomeranians in Liechtenstein was a stupid idea.”Sera Kirk, Vancouver, British Columbia (2001 Winner)

“Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blown’ off Nantucket Sound from nor’ east and the dogs are howlin’ for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the “Ellie May,” a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin’ and, Davey Jonesw be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.” David McKenzie, Federal Way, Washington (2009 Winner)


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2 Responses to It was a dark and stormy night….

  1. Oh, gosh. And those were the WINNERS. I’ve taken solace.


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