It’s time to sharpen your pencils, folks
We need your entries in the first ever Law Review Fiction Contest. We specialize in bad writing. We’re good at it and suspect you are too. Our contest, exclusively for readers of the Sierra Sun and the Tahoe World, is patterned after the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, sponsored by San Jose State. In 1830 Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel “Paul Clifford” with the immortal words “It was a dark and stormy night.” That set the stage for the fiction contest. The goal of the contest is to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.Send your lousy lead sentences to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we receive a sufficient response, we will print them in an upcoming column. For details of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, go to http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/lyttony.htm. For the flavor of our contest, read the following 2004 international literary parody contest winners. The first being the 2004 Bulwer-Lytton grand prize winner.The winners, or losers, depending on how you look at itShe resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight … summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp’s tail … though the term “love affair” now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism … not unlike “sand vein,” which is after all an intestine, not a vein … and that tarry substance inside certainly isn’t sand … and that brought her back to Ramon.***The notion that they would no longer be a couple dashed Helen’s hopes and scrambled her thoughts not unlike the time her sleeve caught the edge of the open egg carton and the contents hit the floor like fragile things hitting cold tiles, more pitiable because they were the expensive organic brown eggs from free-range chickens, and one of them clearly had double yolks entwined in one sac just the way Helen and Richard used to be.* * *She sipped her latte gracefully, unaware of the milk foam droplets building on her mustache, which was not the peachy-fine babyfuzz that Nordic girls might have, but a really dense, dark, hirsute lip-lining row of fur common to southern Mediterranean ladies nearing menopause, and winked at the obviously charmed Spaniard at the next table.* * *The legend about Padre Castillo’s gold being buried deep in the Blackwolf Hills had lain untold for centuries and will continue to do so for this story is not about hidden treasure, nor is it set in any mountainous terrain whatsoever.* * *Jack planted the magic beans and in one night a giant beanstalk grew all the way from the earth up to the clouds – which sounds like a lie, but it can be done with genetic engineering, and although a few people are against eating gene-engineered foods like those beans it’s a high-paying career to think about for when you grow up.* * *When Cinderella saw that the prince had sent the duke to find the woman of his dreams, like some rich schoolboy who pays the smartest kid in the class to do his homework, or worse, like someone who has been on welfare so long that he has trouble doing any kind of work, she suddenly realized the spoiled nature of the king’s son and stealthily slid the slipper back into her pocket.* * *It was a stark and dormy night – the kind of Friday night in the dorm where wistful women/girls without dates ovulated pointlessly and dreamed of steamy sex with bad boy/men in the backseat of a Corvette – like the one of Route 66, only a different color, though the color was hard to determine because the TV show was in black and white – if only Corvettes had back seats.* * *It was another dork and Stormy Knight – after snapping the last of his palm dampened dollar bills into the frazzled elastic of her G string – sent him packing precisely three-eighths of a mile down Highway 20 to the spot where she’d promised him a glorious glimpse of self-awareness, and where he would discover a slight depression in the asphalt and find himself quizzically contemplating the adjacent Department of Transportation sign that read simply: “Dip in Road.”* * *Detective Micky Blarke arrived on the scene at 2:14 a.m., and gave his cigarette such a severe pull that rookie Paul Simmons swore the insides of the detective’s cheeks touched, but the judge indicated that that amount of detail was not necessary in his testimony, and instructed the jury to disregard that statement.* * *The knife handle jutted from her chest like one of the plastic pop-up timers in a frozen turkey, but from the blood pooling around the wound, it was apparent that this bird wasn’t done.* * *The terrible news had whisked around the becolumned courthouse like a malevolent, stinking zephyr straight from the sewage works, and on the gum-besmirched footpath, the hunch of lawyers cackled and cawed like a group of very large, gowned, wigged, briefcase-clutching crows, or perhaps ravens since they are of course the larger bird and some of these lawyers were fairly sizeable.* * *She was a tough one, all right, as tough as a marshmallow – not one of those soft sticky ones used in s’mores, cooked to a turn over a good campfire, or even like the stale chewy type covered in yellow sugar and found at the bottom of a three-week-old Easter basket – no, she was tough like a freeze-dried marshmallow in kid’s cereal that despite being shaped like a little balloon and colored a friendly pink are so rock solid that they are responsible for the loss of more baby teeth than most older siblings.* * *The day dawned much like any other day, except that the date was different.* * *Her pendulous breasts swing first to the left, then to the right and finally in independent directions, much like semaphore signals, and although he couldn’t understand semaphore, Kyle was sure they were saying, “Never ride the Tilt-A-Whirl with your grandma.”* * *Maynard Fimble was told that “you can’t compare apples and oranges,” but, he thought, they are both eatable, grow on trees, are about the same size, are good for you, have a peel, come in many varieties, and are approximately round in shape, thus, to his horror and guilt, he realized that he was comparing them and wondered what punishment awaited him and on whose order.Jim Porter, whose writing is frequently submitted to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, is an attorney with Porter • Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He is a mediator and was the governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He may be reached at email@example.com or at the firm’s Web site, http://www.portersimon.com.
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