The Bulwer-Lytton Contest


On a light note: I was surfing the Web today and came across one of my favorite sites, the Bulwer-Lytton Contest, “where WWW means Wretched Writers Welcome.” As most of you will know, this contest was named for Edward Bulwer-Lytton (pictured above) who once began a book this way:

“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.”

–Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

This site always makes me laugh until I cry–literally. I don’t know how many times I’ve wiped away tears of laughter while reading the prize-winning sentences of bad writing.

My all-time favorite is:

The notes blatted skyward as the sun rose over the Canada geese, feathered rumps mooning the day, webbed appendages frantically peddling unseen bicycles in their search for sustenance, driven by Nature’s maxim, “Ya wanna eat, ya gotta work,” and at last I knew Pittsburgh.

–Sheila B. Richter, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1987 Winner

Just click on “Bulwer-Lytton Contest” in my list of Favorite Sites at the left. You’ll find a “Lyttony of Grand Prize Winners.” I guarantee you’ll have a good time.



3 thoughts on “The Bulwer-Lytton Contest

  1. Fun post, Elizabeth. Thanks for reminding me of that site. Here’s one of my favorites:

    “She wore a dress the same color as her eyes her father brought her from San Francisco.”

    –Danielle Steel, Star

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