Thursday, July 2, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night...

The 2009 winners in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, the annual competition to write the worst opening line for a novel, have been announced.

I won't spoil the surprise and give you the winner, but here are some of my favorites from among the runners-up and dishonorable mentions:

It could have been no more than midnight's icy incipit when Clifford, stumbling in hitherto sanguine emprise through the tombstone teeth of the raven lit Kirk-yard like some well-performed but lichen-hushed human bullet-catch, heard the manifest bactrian vociferation which betrayed with desperate flourish the inexplicably wretched fact that his camel was out there, out on the ice - and she was in mortal peril. (Mr. S. J. Crawford, Redlynch, QLD, Australia)

On a lovely day during one of the finest Indian summers anyone could remember--a season the Germans call "old wives' summer," obviously never having had Native Americans to name things after, but plenty of old wives, and "Indian summer" in German would refer to the natives of India in any case, which would make even less sense than the current naming system--on such a day, however named, John Baxter fell in the creek and drowned. (Deanna Stewart, Heidelberg, Germany)

If she wasn't the poster girl for the word voluptuous, with her not exactly "bedroom," but definitely "walking-down-that-hallway" eyes, her hair a palomino mane rather than platinum blond, lips reminding me of Marilyn Monroe not Angelina Jolie, and that slow hip-swaying walk that sweet-talks a man's thoughts into dim, smoky rooms where R & B is played, she should've been. (Sandra Trentz, Yakima, WA)

Read the rest, and see the best - er, worst - here.