August 16, 2008

Lyttle Lytton Contest

Adam Cadre’s 2009 Lyttle Lytton Contest is already underway! This is a shorter version of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges entrants to write the worst possible introductory sentence to a novel. The Lyttle Lytton contest offers the same challenge, but the sentence must be 30 words or less (see rules). Here are some examples of past winners:

“Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword.” - Graham Swanson, 2008 winner

“It clawed its way out of Katie, bit through the cord and started clearing.” – Gunther Schmidl, 2007 winner

“Crime,” declared the police captain, “is everywhere, crime, crime!” – Carl Muckenhoupt, 2007 runner-up

The real contest deadline is April 15, 2009 at noon. But if you wish, post your worst introductory sentence here at Radosh.net. I’ll post a few to get us started:

“BRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” rang the alarm clock, awakening me from my Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate-induced slumber.

Amber choked back her grief as her mother’s coffin was lowered into the ground, and she wished, momentarily, that she had not killed her mother.

Thanks, and good luck!

Posted by Deborah


There I was, in love with an computer engineer, fully unaware of it's alternate spelling: "douche bag."

^Warning: Proof reading is for sissies.

Her thighs parted like the sluicegates on Lake Ronkonkoma, releasing their nectar on his goatee.

I made a rash decision: I went with the Lanacane.

I'm glad to see this stipulation: "Note that wacky situations and intentional jokes are more suited to the beginnings of good comedic novels, not bad serious ones, and are therefore not really what this contest is about. On the flip side, significant butchering of the language (as opposed to subtle butchering) isn't all that funny either."

These are both strictures regularly violated by finalists and winners of the B-W contest, and is why so much of the contest feels like being repeatedly poked in the ribs. When you read slush for a living, you see funnier stuff than the B-W winners every day; but a lot of the stuff in the Little Lytton contest actually seems worthy of the slushpile. Thanks for the pointer.

"The truths I bear are not for delicate ears."

"Sing the rage of Brooklyn, son of Posh and Becks."

"Thanks, and good luck!" is the best one so far. I mean, where would you take the novel from there?

Hey, I went to college with Carl Muckenhoupt. Glad he amounted to something.

I submit: "Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery."

Or I would if it weren't already taken.

"Son, majoring in Pashto isn't likely to get you great job offers ... or hot chicks," Pop murmured.

"There were swamp tales those scientists didn't know about, tales that great-uncle Bunco was prepared to tell us youngsters, the sour smell of Old Crow heavy on the breath."

It was as diagonal as anything he'd ever seen.

"After weeks of chating on-line he was ready to meet her: Doritos? Check...Mountain Dew? Check...Jonas Brothers CD? Check.
Now, he nerviously wondered, what is Chris Hansen doing here?."

It was a day like any other day in Jersey City - a town full of broken promises where the price tag on your dreams says "Marked down for quick sale".

"I don't know where your Polly Pockets could be", she said as she slid the vacuum behind the curtain.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Why not Bil Keane?

It was hard to steady the red dot of the laser sight on his forehead because my underpants were all bunchy and it made me squirm.

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how!"

"It was dark and stormy in the beginning, then God created the Heavens and the Earth; I'm Ishmael, by the way."

Since I don't know any better place to begin, I'm going to start telling this story to at the beginning.

The Velveteen Rabbit farted.

He eyed her shapely calves with the intensity of a Chilean midfielder at snacktime.

Most mornings, Jennifer wanted nothing more than a bagel, a latte, and some mint gum. This was not one of those mornings.

"I opened the freezer door and felt the cold lumpy bag of peas as I felt the cold steel of the gun on my back. How wierd."

"Pull my finger I said, as I slowly knelt before the pope."

"He couldn't have cared less, so he had to care more."

Every time they made love, she recalled finding her daddy in the stable, standing over her electrocuted show horse, the acrid fumes of charred horseflesh wafting into her every orifice.

"Of all the glory holes in all the gay bar backrooms in all the world, he had to stick his dick into mine."

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