Law Review: Bulwer-Lytton 2020 winners
As you faithful readers recall, we annually present a handful of our favorite Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners.
For you new readers, the Bulwer-Lytton Contest is named after novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton who wrote many famous novels including “Paul Gifford” which started with the immortal words, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Supposedly that’s often-parodied bad writing (although it is better than anything I ever do).
The Contest rewards rookie writers composing intentionally bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Pretty clever stuff.
“Her Dear John missive flapped unambiguously in the windy breeze, hanging like a pizza menu on the doorknob of my mind.” (2020 Grand Prize)
“Sally loved Geoff so deeply that if he were a pirate on a dread pirate ship (and not an insurance adjuster), snarling and drinking, murdering and raping his way across the Caribbean (well, maybe not raping, it was the sentiment that counted) and he had a peg leg, she would have gladly sawed her own leg off and sewed it to his stump with silken threads, so he could dance again, holding her up since she was now a sudden amputee.” (Dishonorable Mention – Adventure)
“As he slowly shadowed the white Amazon Prime van down Midvale Drive in the Fresno suburbs on a sweltering July afternoon, Nigel “Cutthroat” Hawkins thought back over his career — fastboating along the Somali coast, broadcasting at 50,000 watts from international waters just off the Isle of Man, running half a million counterfeit “Bourne Identity” DVDs out of Hong Kong—and had but a single question: is this really what piracy has come to?” (Dishonorable Mention – Adventure)
“As Charlotte meticulously finished her egg sac on the lonely rafter at the county fairgrounds, she thought about the future day when her children would burrow into Wilbur’s flesh to consume him from the inside-out, and hummed her favorite song about the wheel of life rolling on.” (Winner – Children’s & Young Adult Literature)
“When she walked into my office on that bleak December day, she was like a breath of fresh air in a coal mine; she made my canary sing.” (Winner – Crime/Detective)
“She sauntered into his smoke-filled office with legs that, although they didn’t go quite all the way to heaven, definitely went high enough for him to see that she was a giraffe.” (Dishonorable Mention – Crime/Detective)
“It was a dark and stormy night, the kind where the orchestra in a crime movie would bang on a piece of wavy sheet metal and blow raspberries to add ambience to the drizzle coming from an off-camera stagehand holding a garden hose.” (Dishonorable Mention – Dark & Stormy)
“‘Master Wlfindermx sauntered across the Plains of Teflandous towards the city of Gjorgturc carrying the mythical Blade of Vulbertrian, once owned by Lord Leszsoriog,’ wrote the author, who wanted to make the life of the audiobook narrator a living hell.” (Dishonorable Mention – Fantasy & Horror)
“The biker gang roared into the parking lot of the bar and grill like a troop of howler monkeys trying to lure mates, the gravel beneath the tires of their well-oiled bikes crunching like the dill pickle spears the place served alongside their famous tuna salad, BLT, and Reuben sandwiches.” (Winner – Purple Prose)
“The fearsome isle of Gandew was home to two native tribes: the Lacenites, a proud warrior race, and the Demescans, a warrior race but not exactly proud of it, as they found the whole “raping and pillaging” enterprise a bit distasteful, but recognized the fact you can’t build an empire on artisanal ceramics alone.” (Dishonorable Mention – Historical Fiction)
“Deep within the Great Pyramid, Pharaoh Khufu gazed at the walls of what would eventually be his burial chamber, asking himself what he had been thinking in entrusting its adornment to the teenaged Prince and Princess, but comforting himself with the certainty that the younger generation would soon tire of these annoying “emoticons” and return to the rich thirty-character Egyptian alphabet.” (Dishonorable Mention – Historical Fiction)
“Gasping for breath as she lay in the dew-laden lakeside grass, Rifka Lieberman’s chest heaved with rising passion as Saul Cohen approached with the inhaler she had left behind at the assisted living facility.” (Dishonorable Mention – Romance)
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, Ca-0=]lifornia, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.portersimon.com.
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