Some writing that needs to be erased | SierraSun.com
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Some writing that needs to be erased

Let’s have some fun. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is an international literary parody competition.

Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton opened his 1830 novel Paul Clifford with words later plagiarized by Snoopy, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Apparently that was bad writing. Whatever. As a result, a contest of the worst opening paragraphs for a novel was born at San Jose State University.

Here are three local entries submitted to the Law Review two years ago as well as some Bulwer-Lytton winners of past years. My own attempt is just before the Bulwer-Lytton contest winners.



– – –

“As she raised her eyes to meet his gaze, her chest glistening and heaving like a teenager regurgitating last night’s beer ” not in that gentle way that a seagull feeds its young, but more like those kind of dry heaves you get when you’ve already tossed everything you had in you and you feel like your insides are ripping out of your thoracic cavity and your throat is as dry as the seventh martini that put you in that condition.” (Maia Schneider)



– – –

“She stared at me from behind the cash register at Starbucks like Juliet looking down from her balcony and wondering if Romeo’s ladder was long enough to get her out of that damn castle and off the stage of this two-by-four plywood community theatre production of Shakespeare’s most cliched play, the one we had all learned to despise, with good reason, in Mrs. McGillicuddy’s high school English class.” (David Fenimore)

– – –

“Alexandria du Plessis had never much cared for tort lawyers, she’d always dismissed them as vultures ” bottom-feeders and mere ambulance chasers until her own near tragic brush with personal injury had forced her into the rough legal hands of Blake Cromwell Esquire, whose chocolate-milkshake thick brown hair and rock-hard abs and chest, chiseled and sculpted like poured, hardened steel, only served as a delicious counterpoint to his smooth, cool trial presentation and cuttingly precise cross examination enflamed with desire, she thought as she gazed into his eyes (which looked like the endlessly deep limpid pools of a peat bog or perhaps the blood she’d shed in her accident, which had so fortuitously brought her to him) “I’d like to be on his stand for a little pro bono work”.” (Jennifer Montgomery)

– – –

“It had taken everything she had, but the normally shy Marianne finally made contact with Jeremy’s kind eyes, which reminded her of azure-blue Lake Tahoe, only not as large, which was fortunate she thought to herself, and finally she gathered her courage and whispered, “your fly is open.”

(Jim Porter)

– – –

“As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it.”

– – –

“Just beyond the Narrows, the river widens.”

– – –

“With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description.”

– – –

“Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: ‘Andre creep…Andre creep…Andre creep.'”

– – –

Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back alley sex-change surgeon to become the woman he loved.”

– – –

“Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear’; a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death ” in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies.”

– – –

“The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog’s deception, screaming madly, ‘You lied!'”

– – –

“I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.” (Stephen Bishop-our one example of good writing-stuck in here for good measure)


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