Have you heard of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest? It's an unapologetic "bad writing" competition that San Jose State University's English Department has sponsored since 1982.
I own the 1984 book of BLFC entries It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, so named after the old-saw story-starter of the same words that inspired Professor Scott Rice to launch the contest. I recently wrote about the BLFC for a speech textbook I worked on and so remembered to look for results this month, probably for the first time in 20 years. It's still fun to read what contestants come up with!
Below are the winning entries in this year's Children's Literature category.
Joanne watched her fellow passengers — a wizened man reading about alchemy; an over-sized bearded man-child; a haunted, bespectacled young man with a scar; and a gaggle of private school children who chatted ceaselessly about Latin and flying around the hockey pitch and the two-faced teacher who they thought was a witch — there was a story here, she decided.
—Tim Ellis, Haslemere, U.K.
Dorothy had reasons to be nervous: a young girl alone in a strange land, traveling with three weird, insecure males badly in need of psychiatric help; she tucked her feet under her skirt to keep the night's chill (and lewd stares) away and made sure one more time that the gun was secured in her yet-to-develop bosom.
—Domingo Pestano, Alto Prado, Caracas, Venezuela
I'm convinced that the Doc is dealing drugs to most of the mining crew because they either can't stay awake, constantly sneeze, grin like maniacs, or won't look you straight in the eye (not to mention behaving like a moron) and they wonder why a dwarf gets grumpy!
—Neil Prowd, Charnwood, ACT, Australia
What do you think? Are they bad enough for you?
You can read the other winning entries, including the winner of the 2008 Grand Prize, on the contest's official announcement page.