It was a dark and stormy night …

July 14th, 2006

The results of the 2006 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for truly bad opening sentences of (imaginary) novels have been announced. The overall winning entry by Californian Jim Guigli reads:

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.

Stuart Vasepuru from Edinburgh, Scotland came a close second-place with his homage to Dirty Harry:

“I know what you’re thinking, punk,” hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, “you’re thinking, ‘Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?’ – and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel loquacious?’ – well do you, punk?”

Other notable entries include these from the “Romance” category:

Despite the vast differences it their ages, ethnicity, and religious upbringing, the sexual chemistry between Roberto and Heather was the most amazing he had ever experienced; and for the entirety of the Labor Day weekend they had sex like monkeys on espresso, not those monkeys in the zoo that fling their feces at you, but more like the monkeys in the wild that have those giant red butts, and access to an espresso machine.
- Dennis Barry
Dothan, AL

He loved her like no other, their romance developing quickly, like the rapid growth of farm swine which grow from 2 to 4 pounds daily until they’re fully grown and put to market for slaughter, or like the rapidly growing cells that produce moose antlers until they fall off in early spring, and suddenly Bill sensed the imminent doom of his romance lying in wait.
- Jeremy Perreaux
Sarnia, Ontario

Ramon kissed Juanita hard and fast, his tongue probing her mouth like an urologist’s finger searching for a lone polyp on an engorged prostate gland, which reminded Ramon that he needed to get a colonic irrigation to make next week’s annual physical more pleasant for both him and his doctor.
-Ted Begley
Lexington KY

And these from the “Purple Prose” category:

Words cannot describe the exquisite loveliness of the brilliant azure sky with its cerulean striations of periwinkle, cornflower, and cyan.
- Mary Barberio
Northville, MI

The steam rose off his sweaty red flannel shirt like cotton candy on a cardboard cone, if cotton candy were transparent in a misty sort of way and didn’t actually stick to its cone, but instead rose upwards something like steam rising off a sweaty flannel shirt in the twilight of an early winter Vermont afternoon.
- T. Edward Lavoie
Essex Junction VT

As I watched the sun rise through the wisps of smog like an angry Scandinavian sumo wrestler clad in a gold lamé muumuu, riding an arthritically slow escalator through the smoke of his own cheap panatela to the linens and beddings floor at J C Penneys, I realized that upon the orb’s overtopping the horizon, simple geophysics would deal that metaphor a quick and far less painful death than it deserved.
- Dennis Grace
Austin, Texas

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton was the author of Paul Clifford, the novel whose opening line is: “It was a dark and stormy night.” Apparently he was the one who first said “the pen is mightier than the sword” and also coined the phrase “the great unwashed.”

More about the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest HERE, and the complete 2006 contest results HERE.


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