Got What It Takes To Write The Worst Opening Line To A Story?
What better time than now to get those creative juices flowing to write the worst opening line to a story?
If you think I’m talking about NaNoWriMo, you’re mistaken!
I introduce you to….
The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Writer’s Circle provides a great summary of this contest:
Since 1982, the English Department at San Jose State University has thrown the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, inviting writers from around the world to submit their worst opening lines for hypothetical novels, all of them inspired by the infamous introductory sentence used by Bulwer-Lytton. Winners receive a prize and forever have the honor and respect that comes with writing a terrible, Bulwer-Lytton worthy sentence.
And what was this opening line? You’ll instantly recognize the start, but I’d like to provide the full entry:
“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.”
The official deadline is not until April 15, but the actual deadline is June 30. The official deadline coincides with tax day in the USA. Have to love the comedic effect of that ‘official’ deadline!
So what can you get out of this when your goal is to improve your writing?
I love this contest because it forces you to be creative. It’s just as much work to create a bad first line as it is to create something great. By engaging in the contest, you’ll be able to dissect what’s bad. That’s why I highly recommend going to the contest home page here to look through the past winners. There’s a lot you can learn from it.