Since 1982 the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest has challenged man, woman, and (very precocious) child to write an atrocious opening sentence to a hypothetical bad novel. We're honored to receive
Since 1982 the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest has challenged man, woman, and (very precocious) child to write an atrocious opening sentence to a hypothetical bad novel. We’re honored to receive thousands of odious entries from around the world each year.
The rules for the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest are childishly simple:
Each entry must consist of a single sentence but you may submit as many entries as you wish. (A fellow once submitted over 3,000 entries.)
Sentences may be of any length but we strongly recommend that entries not go beyond 50 or 60 words. Entries must be “original” (as it were) and previously unpublished.
Entries will be judged by categories, from “general” to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and so on. There will be overall winners as well as category winners.
The official deadline is April 15 (a date that Americans associate with painful submissions and making up bad stories). The actual deadline is June 30. Winners are typically announced in July or August depending on our panel of undistinguished judges.
The contest accepts submissions every day of the livelong year.
In keeping with the gravitas, high seriousness, and general bignitude of the contest, the grand prize winner will receive … a pittance (and bragging rights).
Finally, a tip: resist the temptation to work some variation of “it was a dark and stormy night.”