The Bulwer-Lytton Writing Contest Winners

As you faithful readers, if any, recall, we annually present a handful of our favorite Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners, and here is a sampling.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is named after novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton who wrote many famous novels including “Paul Gifford” which started with the immortal words, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Supposedly that’s bad writing that has often been a parodied (although it is better than anything I ever do).

The contest rewards first time writers composing intentionally bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. This year’s winners are a good batch.

  • The elven city of Lossti faced towering sea cliffs and abutted rolling hills that in the summer were covered with blankets of flowers and in the winter were covered with blankets, because the elves wanted to keep the flowers warm and didn’t know much about gardening. (Overall winner.)


  • Although in the rusty tackle-box of his mind he yearned to be a #3 buck-tail spinner, Bob knew deep down he must accept his cruel fate as a bottom bouncer rig, forever destined to scrape the muddy bottom of the river of life.


  • Francisco Franco’s wife, seen smiling in all those photos with the same big hat on, was actually the brains behind the dictatorship, the concentration camps, torture, the brutal suppression, and so forth, but she was a shy lady, except when she dressed up in the binding closet for Franco, who listened a-quiver to hear what a very bad boy he’d been.


  • Our tale begins in the Artic, a boy and his dog riding out the blizzard in a windswept cabin, hackles rising as they face down the fearsome bear clawing at the door, courage their spear, fierce loyalty their shield, yes, this is the tale of Hazku, proud chieftain of the northern bears, who makes quick work of these two and spends a pleasant afternoon napping in the cabin.


  • The strange sounds, and unpleasant smells, emanating from outside made him yearn to stay, but he knew he must leave home, make his elders proud, and set a good example for his younger siblings; so with one last determined push, Scotchy the tapeworm emerged into the wider world.


  • In the predawn mist nothing was quite so satisfying as dawdling across someone else’s morning paper, so thought Sally B. Slug on her early morning glide.


  • Detective Sam Steel stood at the crime scene staring puzzled at the chalk outline of Ms. Mulgrave’s body which was really just a stick figure with a dress, curly hair, boobs, and a smiley face because the police chalk guy had the day off.


  • She walked into my office and brayed, “I want you to put a tail on my husband.”


  • As hard-boiled detective Max Baxter ate his soft-boiled egg, he thought about the gorgeous dame he’d found last night lying in a pool of her own blood – it being inconvenient to lie in a pool of someone else’s blood – and wondered how she liked her eggs.


  • It was said among the Khalid of the western deserts that a woman should be a hyena in the kitchen, a giraffe in the garden, and a pelican in the bathroom, although nobody knew what this was supposed to mean.


  • “Punishing you hurts us more than it does you,” said Mr. and Mrs. Borden who were scolding Lizzie for not taking proper care of her gardening tools (she had again left the lovely new axe she had gotten for her birthday outside on a dark and stormy night), and Lizzie thought:  “Yes…yes, I think it probably shall.”


  • I looked up at her breathless “hello,” and knew I could never unsee her Bride of Frankenstein makeup, or the way she filled her clothes; which must have looked good form-fitted a younger, svelter her, but now resembled a sausage skin strained to its limits by a failure of the emergency stop on the filling machine; perhaps developing group grub, whose skin failed to molt, or a Michelin Woman, as imagined by Salvador Dali on acid.


  • One day – though this was no average day, it was gloomy; uncharacteristically forecast for mid-July, yet not extraordinary considering the geographic location, on the northern coast of Germany, where drastic changes in weather are indeed quite common although not so common that they were expected yet common enough to leave no one shocked by the smell gathering of clouds above their heads – Linda went on a walk down the street.




Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada.  Jim’s practice areas include:  real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters.  He may be reached at or  

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