September 25, 2012
The pen is mightier than the sword,” “the great unwashed,” and “the almighty dollar” are also attributed to Bulwer-Lytton.
I recently discovered the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC) website. (www.bulwer-lytton.com) BLFC is a wonderful, zany literary competition wherein contestants are encouraged to submit the worst opening lines for a novel. The contest began in 1983 at San Jose State University by Professor Scott Rice and is named after the Victorian writer, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who is best known for penning the infamous opening line "It was a dark and stormy night." BLFC is a call to craft appallingly bad prose. This year's winner was Cathy Bryant of Manchester, England, who was inspired to create this wickedly terrible entry: "As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting." There is nothing quite so charming as our ability to laugh at ourselves, and these writers do it so well. I applaud them all.
At BLFC, you can also find Sticks and Stones which is a newer contest dedicated to the awful work of published authors. An example is provided from Danielle Steel's Star: "She wore a dress the same color as her eyes her father brought her from San Francisco." The site challenges you to submit your own discoveries of ill-written, ungainly, strangely similed, tortured prose.
I highly recommend you visit this site when you need a quick chuckle. Have a literary friend and a cold bottle of Chardonnay as well and let the laughter ensue.