It was a dark and stormy night…

…and you know what that means!   It’s the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest! If you’re not familiar with this prestigious fiction contest, you have been missing some fun. It’s named for Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who opened his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford, with the soon-to-be-infamous phrase: It was a dark and stormy night. He’s also responsible for a number of other famous phrases (the almighty dollar, the great unwashed, the pen is mightier than the sword), and his name has been added to San Jose State University’s annual bad fiction contest. These awful opening sentences make great Friday reading! My personal favorites:


Within the smoking ruins of Keister Castle, Princess Gwendolyn stared in horror at the limp form of the loyal Centaur who died defending her very honor; “You may force me to wed,” she cried at the leering and victorious Goblin King, “but you’ll never be half the man he was.”

Terri Daniel, Winner, Fantasty


As the dark and mysterious stranger approached, Angela bit her lip anxiously, hoping with every nerve, cell, and fiber of her being that this would be the one man who would understand—who would take her away from all this—and who would not just squeeze her boob and make a loud honking noise, as all the others had.

Ali Kawashima, Winner, Romance

What are your favorites?

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