Tuesday, July 07, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night...

The results of the 2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest are released. Most likely you think of Snoopy in the Peanuts comic strip when you see the phrase "it was a dark and stormy night", but the phrase is actually part of the first sentence of the novel Paul Clifford by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton. The complete sentence is:

"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."

The contest is an international literary parody contest that honors the memory if not the reputation of Bulwer-Lytton. The goal of the contest is simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.

The results are usually very funny. An example, the 2009 winner for the Detective entry:

She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida - the pink ones, not the white ones - except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn't wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren't.

Eric Rice
Sun Prairie, WI

So if you would like a smile, check out the present and past winners.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

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