bad writing can get you somewhere.

New Jersey correspondent Madeline has brought a delightful competition to my attention. Every year, San Jose State University holds its Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest–encouraging people to write their most painfully bad first line to an imaginary book. Why is it called Bulwer-Lytton, you ask? Because Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (what a name!) is the literary mastermind behind the 1830 novel “Paul Clifford” that forever burdened us with “It was a dark and stormy night”. Thanks for that, Eddie. Let’s also thank this year’s winner, Garrison Spik, for his contribution to society:

Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped ‘Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.’

Haha, well done sir! You are a gentleman and a scholar. Here is another epic submission. This one comes from Beth Fand Incollingo:

Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater — love touches you, and marks you forever.


In my opinion, to win this competition you either have to be an incredibly corny and bad writer (read: a 13 year old girl…or boy) or a really good writer who knows bad writing (read: remembering your own writing when you were a 13 year old girl…or boy). And just for the record, Mr. Spik and Ms. Incollingo, I put you both in the good writer who knows bad writing category.

Feel free to comment with your best/worst first lines. No prizes, just the SWTCTW glory of being witty. Now I’m going to go reread my old journals in search for literary gems of my own.

[Posted by Kathleen]

1 Comment

Filed under definitely not politics, pop culture, random, the arts

One response to “bad writing can get you somewhere.

  1. Sexy Baby Blues

    Kathleen has gotten this award for four years running from the journalism dept at her former college. Obviously, she never got the hint.

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