It was a dark and stormy night...

They announce the winners of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest on the same day that I start our localized version of NaNoWriMo. Coincidence? Or OOOOOOMEN? Looking back at the 1,000 words I managed to write last night, so far I'm going with... OOOOOOMEN? Christ but I suck.

(It is not, I shall remind you, too late for you to start NaNoWriMoIng. Long weekend coming up! You've only missed one day, and you can make that up easy.)

In any case, I love these things: deliberately-badly-written first lines to possible novels. I've never entered it, but I have written a few of my own before (being loquatious I tend to break the rules and use more than one sentence). More on those later, but here are my faves from the actual contest.

The winning entry is frickin' hilarious:

"Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests."

David McKenzie
Federal Way, WA

The runner-up:

The wind dry-shaved the cracked earth like a dull razor--the double edge kind from the plastic bag that you shouldn't use more than twice, but you do; but Trevor Earp had to face it as he started the second morning of his hopeless search for Drover, the Irish Wolfhound he had found as a pup near death from a fight with a prairie dog and nursed back to health, stolen by a traveling circus so that the monkey would have something to ride.
Warren Blair
Ashburn, VA

Some others (I'm just picking a few, but they're all worth reading, so go to the link):

She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida - the pink ones, not the white ones - except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn't wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren't.
Eric Rice
Sun Prairie, WI

The gutters of Manhattan teemed with the brackish slurry indicative of a significant though not incapacitating snowstorm three days prior, making it seem that God had tripped over Hoboken and spilled his smog-flavored slurpie all over the damn place.
Eric Stoveken
Allentown, PA

She expected a beautiful morning after the previous night's hard rain but instead stepped out her door to a horrible vision of drowned earthworms covering the walkway -- their bodies curled and swirled like limp confetti after a party crashed by firefighters. Rita Hammett
Boca Raton, Florida

Their relationship hit a bump in the road, not the low, graceful kind of bump, reminiscent of a child's choo choo train-themed roller coaster, rather the kind of tall, narrow speed-bump that, if a school bus ran over it, would cause even a fat kid to fly up and bang his head on the ceiling.
Michael Reade
Durham, NC

Melinda woke up suddenly to the sound of her trailer being pounded with wind and hail, and she couldn't help thinking that if she had only put her prized hog up for adoption last May, none of this would be happening, no one would have gotten hurt, and she wouldn't be left with only nine toes, or be living in a mobile home park in Nebraska with a second-rate trapeze artist named Fred. Ada Marie Finkel
Boston, MA

He was the desert nightmare whose name no one dared breathe, this deadly gun-slinger Garth Tedder, whose face struck terror in the hearts of man and beast, its macabre, round, maroon cheeks almost exactly like the pickled beets that farmers' wives force-fed their horrified families.
Brett Hawkins, Burleson, TX

"I want you to follow my husband," said my newest client, the enigmatic Mrs Yogi, estranged wife of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Steve Heckman
Taylors, SC

As Laurel made her way through the plaza, she couldn't help but notice the gorgeous co-anchor for the morning news show, out yet again signing autographs, smiling broadly, and infusing everyone around her with happiness, and she wondered, just for a second mind you, how good it would feel to punch her right in her stupid little face.
Nikkia Daniel
Marietta, GA

As Lieutenant Baker shrank his lips back to their normal size, he tried desperately to think of a situation in which his new-found power might be useful, as have I, your narrator.
Dan Blaufuss
Glenview, IL

Before she was Tabloid Sally, the impossibly foxy movie star who destroyed marriages like a busty ball-peen hammer, before she was Nobel Sally, the mercurial chemist who cured chronic halitosis, and before she was Pulitzer Sally, the honey-dipped scribe who brought Washington to its knees, she was just little Sally Barns from Crow's Neck, Neb., Bill and Margie's daughter, a doe-eyed pixie who loved fairy tales and onion rings.
Roger Collier
Ottawa, Ontario


And now (always leave 'em with an anti-climax!) here's a few of mine that I wrote a couple years ago (some of which are cheats since they've got multiple sentences, but screw it, rules are just set up to keep a brotha down!):

Finster slammed the phone down and collapsed into his chair, trembling with rage at those idiots and their endless questions, when he'd told them repeatedly exactly what he wanted. Why would they not understand? Could it truly be this hard to mail a gnu?

Imelda was one to embrace life's troubles and make snuggly teddy-bears of the miseries she found thrown into her path. If life gave her lemons, she'd not only make lemonade, she'd invite all of her friends for tea and serve it in her best china, the set with the daisies that she bought on her trip to Buenos Aires with George before he lost his leg. Tragedies were opportunities if one were only willing to look at them with enough cockeyed elan. Every setback was an opportunity to move forward if one would just be flexible about the direction one wanted to go. If it weren't for toxic waste, for instance, the words "love canal" might never have been permissible on television.

The teacher was unable to pin it down for certain; perhaps it was something in the obtuse allignment of his desk with those the other students, or maybe it was that his handwriting was too spiky, or possibly it was just the way he dressed, but there was something, something, that she didn't like about little Jimmy Hitler.

Bill looked about him, at the litter of toaster parts, and swizzle sticks and wire and mousetrap-springs, and bits of carpeting sodden with glue, all piled atop the gutted televisions and microwaves, the ravaged moped bleeding its oil, the dissected doorknobs, the bin of charred sugarbeets and the buckets of tar and raisins and -- sad-yet-menacing and nearly forgotten in the corner, like an iconic embodiment of all his unfullfilled dreams and too many frusrtrated nightmares come to terrible fruition and then shuffled ungracefully into a yellow rain slicker -- the defiled Paddington Bear metastisizing in its coccoon of dust-clotted jam and paper mache ... and realized, finally, despairingly, that he had run out of ideas.

One could have timed the bus's progress and used the passage of time as it got nearer and nearer as a barometer for the dread that Dudley felt as he watched it roll slowly, inexorably to the corner, if one had a watch, which he did not.

Though little Susabelle protested that she had meant to hit her brother with the hammer, and that she was pleased that she had done so, Grandmother Pollyanna couldn't help but think there was something melancholic in Susabelle's scampering.

There, on the doorstep, begrimed with mud as if freshly dissinterred from some nameless grave in the dark of night by some devillish, derangement-driven fiend bent on unholy destruction, was a carrot.

His name was Joseph Wales, and he lived on the east side of Clintwood, and, as he had no sense of humor, you might say he was damned.

As more and more hordes of aliens marched directly into the beam of his Ionic-Nukulotron blaster, regardless of the fact were being blown into a zillion pieces of reeking death, Commander Vulkorz realized that his home planet of Altair 7 had been invaded by idiots.

"Mr. Jones is a ruthless man," thought Bob, as he noticed that Jones had callously come to the party anyway, even though mere hours earlier he'd attended the funeral of his wife, Ruth.

Linda yelled "I hate you, I hate you!" at their backs, and James tried to convince himself that maybe she wasn't talking to him, as he left her with his new girlfriend, a sheep.

Once again into the breach, old soldier thought General Patton to himself as he stepped into the gap or rift in a solid structure such as a dike or fortification.

1 comment:

  1. What, me worry?
    What, me write?
    No, me surf, cut, paste and post.