Murder They Wrote, or How They Killed The English Language (The Best of The Worst)


 Lightning scratched across the sky like chalk on a blackboard, and was just as irritating. Or perhaps ....

  Typing isn't easy when you're a teddy bear with paws.

Billy is more of a two-thumb typer and does like 16 wpm.


The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Part I

Goofy name for a contest right? So what is it all about?

Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to write the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.

How did this all begin?

"It was a dark and stormy night..." is what many people quote when joking about starting a mystery novel. Its original author is Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, in the novel "Paul Clifford"  written in 1830. This dumb cliché is 173 years old! I wonder if Mr. Bulwer-Lytton ever dreamed his bad sentence would become the basis for future writers and be the name for such a bad writing contest? You see, he is famous for "almost just right writing." <wink>

So who thought of creating a contest where you are suppose to write badly? The BLFC was started in 1982 by the English Department at San Jose State University and the inspiration of Professor Scott Rice. For an accurate description, further information or to enter go to the Bulwer-Lytton site. This is the official website run by Professor Rice.


Part II

The contest is now over 40 years old and has resulted in 5 books compiling the winning worst sentences as well as others. The books are all paperback and published by Penguin Books. Here they are in the order in which they were published, starting in 1984.

1. "It Was A Dark and Stormy Night - The funniest opening sentences from the worst novels never written." - Scott Rice

2. "Bride of Dark and Stormy - Yet more of the Best (?) from the Bulwer-Lytton Contest." - Scott Rice

3. "Son of "It was a Dark and Stormy Night - More of the Best (?) from the Bulwer-Lytton Contest." - Scott Rice

4. "It was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Final Conflict - Yet more of the Best (?) from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest." - Scott Rice

5. "Dark and Stormy Rides Again" - Scott Rice

I had to use to acquire the older books no longer in print.

Part III 

Now for the really really fun stuff!

I've created one page with excerpts from 4 of these books to get you inspired or to help make you smile.

This page contains NO GRAPHICS (except for the bolt to get you back here) and NO MUSIC. It's just text for faster loading.


To get shocked by the best of the worst!


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