Tuesday, 6 July 2010

It was a dark and stormy night...

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

The Bulwer-Lytton competition sprung from such worthy nonsense and has become one of the literary world’s highlights for spoof bad writing. The website is  HERE  and has just announced this year’s winners.

Winners from last year included...

Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the “Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.

David McKenzie of Federal Way, WA


The wind dry-shaved the cracked earth like a dull razor--the double edge kind from the plastic bag that you shouldn't use more than twice, but you do; but Trevor Earp had to face it as he started the second morning of his hopeless search for Drover, the Irish Wolfhound he had found as a pup near death from a fight with a prairie dog and nursed back to health, stolen by a traveling circus so that the monkey would have something to ride.

Warren Blair, Ashburn, VA


Winner: Fantasy Fiction

A quest is not to be undertaken lightly--or at all!--pondered Hlothgar, Thrag of the Western Boglands, son of Glothar, nephew of Garthol, known far and wide as Skull Dunker, as he wielded his chesty stallion Hralgoth through the ever-darkening Thlargwood, beyond which, if he survived its horrors and if Hroglath the royal spittle reader spoke true, his destiny awaited--all this though his years numbered but fourteen.

Stuart Greenman of Seattle, WA


Anybody fancy having a go? There might even be a prize for the best one posted in the comments box. An example of some good writing to compensate for the bad.

Go on, go on, go on...you know you want to.


  1. Once upon a time, although one could argue that time could not contain a 'once', if you believe in a space/time continuim never stops, or starts for that matter, so that by the time a 'once' happens we've already passed it, so to the naked human eye glued to, oh, picture a huge clockface and a fan belt, for lack of a better idea,rotating in such a way that pinning down the 'once' might just be impossible, but you might disagree with that so let us just stick to once upon a time, in a land far, far away, even though with the internet we are all so connected now, it's hard to imagine far, far away, on this lone, populated planet, that, again, some might disagree is the only populated planet, even though, for the benefit of this story is, for the most part, totally irrelevant but let us imagine it anyway.

  2. I love it Thea. Continue.

  3. oh, where was I? Ah, to continue:

    Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, it was night, a dark and stormy night, to be factual, a night that followed a hot, sweltering, steamy day and if you talk to strangers as I do on a daily basis, you will find that people either like those hot, sweltering days or they hate them, and in this particular case, Lonely Lorna hated them, for the land she had come from, which was also far, far away, but not the same far, far away as where she was now, was used to that humidity, except it wasn't hot and steamy, but damp and rainy, both of which, as any hairdresser will tell you, ruins beyond hope any hairdo worth the curlers, so Lonely Lorna was particularly distressed that day and spent most of it looking into a hand mirror, hoping beyond hope that she'd catch a glipse of smooth, shiny locks glistening with the morning sun, but as I mentioned before, it was too hot for frizzy, Lonely Lorna to go outside and it was night now and she was a bit afraid of the dark, although she would never admit this to anyone, but all leads to her current dilemma which had been going on for a long time, and I'm sure you, dear readers, can relate to, which is that if you don't go out of the house, you cannot meet the love of your life, better known as your 'soulmate' and, of course, you would say to yourself, what's a girl to do?

  4. If I were Lorna, I wouldn't be able to stand myself.

    If I lived with Lorna, I'd probably bust my ribs laughing. Busting Lorna's ribs wouldn't do any good: that girl obviuosly has gils, not lungs, if she can talk that long without sucking breath into her lungs.

    And don't we all know someone just like lovely Lorna...

    Great job, Thea!