What is the Bulwer-Lytton Contest?
Founded in 1982 at San Jose State University in California, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest challenges entrants to compose opening sentences to the worst of all possible novels. Inspired by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's opening line, "It was a dark and stormy night..." to his 1830 novel, "Paul Clifford," about a highway robber during the French Revolution. To be fair to Bulwer-Lytton, "it was a dark and stormy night" is only the beginning of the opening phrase.
The full sentence reads:
"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."
Lisa H. Owens 2022 Entries:
Dark and Stormy Night Themed Entry:
It was a dark and placid night, although storms were predicted in the forecast. (3/25/2022 entered)
Mildred scraped off a patch of mold before shaving slivers from the government wheel of processed cheese-food, nostalgically (with some degree of horror) remembering the day when—following the tragic death of her beloved memaw—she, at a mere four years of age, was assigned the task of packing lunches for her devastated papa and seven sickly brothers each morning as they readied themselves for a treacherous day of working deep in the coal mines of West Virginia, them scuttering around the frigid kitchen to reheat the dredges of yesterday's coffee, while she hesitantly wielded a knife for the very first time, slicing off the tip of her pinky along with a sliver from the government wheel of what was—back then—actual cheddar cheese. (3/27/2022 entered)
Johnny-on-the-spot was not intuitive by any means, but more aptly an in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time sort of bloke. (3/25/2022 entered)
Mrs Kravitz was not a nosy neighbor, it was just that she was interested in the goings-on of every Tom Dick and Harry on the street; and not knowing each and every one of her neighbors' first names, she kept tabs on them all. (3/25/2022 entered)
It was unfortunate that in keeping with his evil nature, Dracula named his first-born daughter Ivana Sucka Yerblood. (3/25/2022 entered)
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush took on new meaning as the old codger chased his young golddigger of a bride 'round and 'round the side-yard shrubbery, in endless pursuit of his come-uppance and go-downtance, him taking time to momentarily dab at the bleeding scratches on his crepe-like skin with a Puffs Aloe-Infused tissue, all the while wondering why he'd never noticed the bush's stickers before now, but then realized his error later that evening when he'd Googled it, only to find that blackberries were the ones with thorns. (3/25/2022 entered)
Jesus served the loaves and fishes to the surging crowd from an endlessly multiplying supply within a tiny willow basket, wondering all the while why His Heavenly Father had chosen this particular entree upon which to work His miracle, as He was more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. (3/25/2022 entered)
Bob was a flat-Earther through and through, a fact that he shouted from the rooftops and always made certain to smugly proclaim at upscale cocktail parties, though—on the sly—he'd recently purchased the 'Round the World in 30 Days package from a now defunct travel agency on the corner of 5th and Main. (3/25/2022 entered)
Little Kenny Husenfeld the third, hid under his Circu Magical Rocky Rocket bed—the distinctly sacrine aroma of the tube of Necco Wafers (ingested on the sly earlier that evening—licorice being his least favorite), emanating from his sweat drenched Petite Plume Unisex Imperial Tartan Flannel pajama set—terrified, but also somewhat curious to see what unfortunate combination of attire the garrish monster in his closet might choose for his nightly haunting. (4/6/2022 entered)
Lisa H. Owens
Created nine sentences for the Bulwer-Lytton 2022 Annual Worst First Sentence Contest.
Not a winner or a dishonerable mention!
[Actual Partial "Contest Finals" PDF]
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