Jul 11, 2006

Bad Prose Garners Bit of Cash for Writer

"Where 'www' means 'Wretched Writers Welcome'"

(San Francisco, CA) A retired engineer used a hackneyed scene from detective novels and created a particularly gruesome opening sentence, thus gathering top honors in San Jose State University's annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for bad writing.

Here is author Jim Guigli's winning entry:

"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."


Scott Rice, a professor in SJSU's Department of English and Comparative Literature, has managed the contest since it was created in 1982.

"The judges were impressed by his appalling powers of invention," he said.

Each entry in the contest must consist of a single sentence, and contestants are warned that "you go beyond 50 or 60 words at your peril."

I have submitted in the past, but have yet to merit even an honorable mention. I am not sure if I should view my failure to write especially horrid prose as a disappointment or not.

The bad fiction competition is named for Victorian writer Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose novel Paul Clifford began with that well-known standard of clichéd writing: "It was a dark and stormy night."


Anonymous said...

I LOVE this! Thanks for the link.

Jeffrey Smith said...

With so much best-selling swill out there, I'm surprised they're still at it.

Anonymous said...

"Flic your bic, crisp that chick, and you'll feel my steel for your last meal!"

That was a winner at one point.

Hooda Thunkit said...


I hope you're not losing any sleep about not doing well(???) in the competition.