An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."
So, the winners have been announced for 2009 and some of them are hilarious! You'll have to check out their website to read the winner, but here are some of my favorites from the runners-up:
The dame sauntered silently into Rocco's office, but she didn't need to speak; the blood-soaked gown hugging her ample curves said it all: "I am a shipping heiress whose second husband was just murdered by Albanian assassins trying to blackmail me for my rare opal collection," or maybe, "Do you know a good dry cleaner?" (Tony Alfieri, Los Angeles, CA)
Detective Pierson mentally reviewed the group of suspects milling around the recent crime scene-two young siblings eating gingerbread, a young girl in a red hoodie, a beautiful girl with narcolepsy, and seven little people with the profession of miners-then gave his statement of "It's a grim tale" to the press. (Shannon Gray, Wichita, KS)
It was a quarter 'til eight in the ninth precinct when I got the call of a possible two-eleven at a nearby Seven-Eleven that turned out to be just a four-fifteen--that is until my number two from the ninth discovered the one-eight-seven under the Tenth Street Bridge, some two-bit mob soldier with a blossom of five .357's right in the ten-ring. (Jeff Riley, Fort Worth, TX)
George scratched his head in abject puzzlement as he tried to figure out where he'd parked the rocket this time in the 100-acre parking lot of Nallmart 75B, but then he remembered that a ship-boy had taken his DNA key-but which one, the kelly toned humanoid or the atmosphere-of-Rylak-hued android; scanning the horizon, he at last turned to Babs and asked "how green was my valet"? (Leigh A. Smith, New Douglas, IL)
Congratulations to all the winners!