The Best of Bad Writing

Posted on July 29, 2005

It's time once again to peruse the best of the bad writing, as decided by the judges of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. By comparing his love's anatomy to the carburetor of his car, Dan McKay, a computer analyst at Microsoft Great Plains in Fargo, North Dakota, won this year's contest, beating out thousands of other dreadful entries.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire," he wrote, comparing a woman's breasts to "small knurled caps of the oil dampeners."

The competition highlights literary achievements of the most dubious sort -- terrifyingly bad sentences that take their inspiration from minor writer Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" began, "It was a dark and stormy night." "We want writers with a little talent, but no taste," San Jose State English Professor Scott Rice said. "And Dan's entry was just ludicrous." McKay was is in China and could not be reached to comment about his status as a world-renowned wretched writer. He will receive $250.

But there's more. Here's the runner-up:
"The rising sun crawled over the ridge and slithered across the hot barren terrain into every nook and cranny like grease on a Denny's grill in the morning rush, but only until eleven o'clock when they switch to the lunch menu," wrote Lester Guyse, a retired fraud investigator in Portland, Oregon.

Ken Aclin, of Shreveport, Louisiana, won the Grand Panjandrum's Award for his shocking similes and abusive use of adjectives. He wrote that India "hangs like a wet washcloth from the towel rack of Asia."

If you didn't win, or didn't even know about the contest, there's always next year. The official website is here.

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