Friday, October 19, 2012

Really Bad Writing

We've posted about some of our favorite writers like Elmore Leonard, Alan Furst, Oliver Perez-Reverte and Vasily Grossman among others.  Now let's talk about some really bad writing!

Every year since 1982, the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest which is designed to select the best deliberately written "worst" first sentence for a novel.

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton was a Victorian novelist and author of the immortal opening sentence "It was a dark and stormy night".  He also came up with "the pen is mightier than the sword".

You can read about this year's contest and past winners at the link above.  It takes some talent to write well badly (I may have just done so).  My favorite this year was the winner in the Crime category submitted by Sue Fondrie of Appleton, Wisconsin:

"She slinked through my door wearing a dress that looked like it had been painted on - not with good paint like Behr or Sherwin-Williams, but with that watered-down stuff that bubbles up right away if you don't prime the surface before you slap it on, and - just like that cheap paint - the dress needed two more coats to cover her".

Since Sue lives in Wisconsin I wonder if she's stopped by Culver's for a bacon butterburger?

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing excerpt of Sue Fondrie writing, after all I was born in Appleton. dm