Follow by Email

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bad writing = Big bucks...

...unless you are a counterfeitter, who, because of a great buy on dollar-bill-type paper, makes ten dollar bills half an inch wider then tells people that your money goes farther because it takes fewer bills, laid end-to-end, hypothetically of course, to reach the moon thus saving the American people millions in paper costs alone; or maybe making fifteen dollar bills because it takes only two rather than three to make $30 to buy a $22 birthday gift (tax included) and receive two fours in change.

Yes, the winners of the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are in... and my lead sentence was not among them.

The English department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest since 1982. The contest judges look for the worst possible opening sentence to a novel, as in, "It was a dark and stormy night..." The winner of this clever bad writing extravaganza wins $250. And come on now... who can't write bad?

The 2008 winner: "Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city, their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped "Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J." (Garrison Spik, Washington, D.C.)

Well, that was good but I enjoyed: "Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater--love touches you, and marks you forever." (Beth Fand Incollingo, NJ)

But my favorite: Vito watched as Robert squirmed in his life vest while the Great White brushed against his chum-soaked and shackled body, but it wasn't until the terrible fish circled back, finally ending Robert's evening, that Vito, with the vision of the legless torso undulating up and down in the Farallon current, had his epiphany and uncovered one of life's truly great myseries: when you shorten Robert, you really do get bob." (Paul Olson, CA)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this really made me laugh. I have an intense hatred of bad writing.
    My personal favourite is "Her body was crisp and lean, like a new fridge". Say what now?

    Anna xxx