It Was a Dark and Stormy Night …

My favorite contest EVAR:

An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression “the pen is mightier than the sword,” and phrases like “the great unwashed” and “the almighty dollar,” Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the “Peanuts” beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

The culprit:

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

–Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

My favorites from the 2008 results after the jump.


“Die, commie pigs!” grunted Sergeant “Rocky” Steele through his cigar stub as he machine-gunned the North Korean farm animals.

Dave Ranson
Calgary, Alberta

“Toads of glory, slugs of joy,” sang Groin the dwarf as he trotted jovially down the path before a great dragon ate him because the author knew that this story was a train wreck after he typed the first few words.

Alex Hall
Greeley, CO

He was a dark and stormy knight, and this excited Gwendolyn, but admittedly not as much as last night when he was Antonio Banderas in drag, or the night before that when he was a French Legionnaire who blindfolded her and fed her pommes frites from his kepi.

Leslie Muir
Atlanta, GA

The KGB agent known only as the Spider, milk solids oozing from his mouth and nose, surveyed the spreading wound in his abdomen caused by the crushing blow of the low but deadly hassock and begged of his attacker to explain why she gone to the trouble of feeding him tainted milk products before effecting his assassination with such an inferior object as this ottoman, only to hear in his dying moments an escaping Miss Muffet of the MI-5 whisper, “it is my whey.”

David Potter
Nagoya, Japan

Vowing revenge on his English teacher for making him memorize Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality,” Warren decided to pour sugar in her gas tank, but he inadvertently grabbed a sugar substitute so it was actually Splenda in the gas.

Becky Mushko
Penhook, VA

7 Comments

Is Bad Hemingway still around? That and B-L were the two highlights of the literary year.

@nojo: Fall is my favorite season, but this and the NFL draft are my 2 favorite times of the year. That Splenda one is teh brilliant.

My older brother escaped Vietnam by joining the Navy, and spent his time on a carrier in the Med. Apparently the boys devoured “fuckbooks,” the male equivalent of harlequin romances, extended length Penthouse letters. My bro used to do a parody of a typical fuckbook, it started with a man and woman in bed, lots of heaving aching loins, throbbing and quivering with desire, and in the middle of setting the opening scene, he said “outside the window, a horse farted, to set the mood.” You mighta had to have been there.

@blogenfreude: For bad Hemingway, noone beats Hemingway. Maybe Crews. Mailer on a bad day. There would be no way to parody bad Mailer. Here’s a thought, anyone up to trying to translate the Bulwer-Lytton opening into Hemingway-ese?

It was night. It was raining. In sheets. A good rain. Its good when the rain falls in sheets, its good like the sheets of blood flowing from the neck of the bull when the picador throws his lance. . .

@Promnight: “The Horse Farted” should the headline for the debate live blog.

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