Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Best Worst First Line Contest!

In literature, there are some very memorable and iconic first lines. For example:

Call me Ishmael. from Moby Dick

Lolita, light of my life, fire in my loins. from Lolita

The first line of a novel needs to grab your attention, set the tone for the entire story.

 But what about the best WORST first lines? The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest wants you to come up with the absolute most atrocious first line of a "made up" novel. This funny contest goes back to 1982 and is sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University.

The winner gets $250 and quite a bit of notoriety. And even if you don't win, you might get a Dishonorable Mention, runner-up award. Edward George Bulwery-Lytton is the author of the famous 1830 novel Paul Clifford, its first line lives in infamy: It was a dark and stormy night...

The deadline for the 2011 contest year is April 15. So get a move on! Here is last year's entry:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil.--Molly Ringle,  Seattle, Washington (2010 Winner)



L'Aussie said...

Hi Jay. I followed you over from M Pax. I like the sound of this contest and I absolutely love the last year's winner's entry. How could anyone be that clever? I don't think I could even try this. Are you?

in relation to your comment on CassaStar. I reviewed it too on if you'd like to read another review. Mine is quite in depth.

I've followed you and hope to enjoy more of your work.


Jay Noel said...

Denise, I'm strongly considering entering just for fun. I know I can think of a really horrible first line.

I'll check out your review. I loved Ender's Game and Hunger Games. So CassaStar seems right up my alley.

Anonymous said...

Now that was horribly funny. Hmmm...this contest intrigues me indeed. - EJ Apostrophe

Jay Noel said...

Just one line...the hardest part is writing horribly, on purpose!

Milo James Fowler said...

Might have to fish through my trunked novels. I'm sure there are plenty of stinkers to be found...

Jay Noel said...

Might be worth $250, MJ. Thanks for stopping by.

Tiyana, aka "Yoyo" said...

Haha, fun. $250 bucks, you say? Hm...

Jay Noel said...

Could be easy money! Give it a whirl, Tiyana.

Anonymous said...

Write horribly...isn't that what we do when we write our first draft?! LOL - E.J. Apostrophe

Ellie said...

I forgot about this competition - thank you for reminding me!

I was shortlisted for The Scent of an Ending 2010, which is the same idea as above, just a terrible ending.

Jay Noel said...

EJ: I should have a treasure trove of awful first lines, if that's the case.

Ellie: Wow! I need to check out the ending contest too. Thanks for stopping by Ellie!

G E N E V I E V E said...

this shouldn't be too hard. haha! But, seriously, I'm not sure I could ever compete with last year's winner. Major WIN! :) Wait, or is that called a fail? No, it's win because she got $250!! :)

It's been fun checking out your blog. "Dragonfly Warrior" sounds awesome.

Phats said...

I suck at these kind of things, I enjoy though seeing what everyone else comes up with. You definitely should enter if you haven't already :)

How about Roddick? He is going to drop out of the top 10, I was never a fan, but I thought he had more talent than this.

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