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Friday, August 12, 2011

Cringe-making writing wins again

The results for the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are out

Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories

The supreme award goes to Sue Fondrie for the truly purple sentence above.

Sue is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and a fan of Star Wars as well as bad puns.  Now, she can proudly boast the achievement of being the 29th supreme award winner of the Bulwer-Lytton contest, which challenges writers to produce truly awful opening sentences.

"At 26 words," say the judges, "Prof. Fondrie's submission is the shortest grand prize winner in Contest history, proving that bad writing need not be prolix, or even very wordy."

It need not be written by a Briton, either.  It is intriguing how many Americans have taken up the challenge this year, succeeding in winning a large number of sub-categories, as well as the Grand Prize.  Downunder, it seems that really bad writing is hard to achieve, as I found no Kiwis in the list of winners, runners-up, and dishonorable mentions, and only one Aussie.  Or perhaps we are too bashful to enter.

My favorites:

Sensing somehow a scudding lay in the offing, Skipper Bob tallied his tasks: reef the mains'l, mizzen, and jib, strike and brail the fores'l, mizzen stays'l and baggywrinkles, bowse the halyards, mainsheets, jacklines and vangs, turtle and belay fast the small cock, flemish the taffrail warps, batten the booby hatch, lay by his sou'wester, and find the bailing bucket.

Mike Mayfield of Austin, Texas, runner up in the Adventure section

Within the smoking ruins of Keister Castle, Princess Gwendolyn stared in horror at the limp form of the loyal Centaur who died defending her very honor; "You may force me to wed," she cried at the leering and victorious Goblin King, "but you'll never be half the man he was."

Terri Daniel of Seattle, Washington, winner of the Fantasy section.

For more enjoyment (?) hit the link.

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