Winners of 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for Bad Opening Sentences Announced

Posted on July 29, 2011

Sue Fondrie, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, is the winner of the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. The annual contest challenges writers to compose bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Here is Sue Fondrie's bad opening that won the contest:

Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.
The contest takes its name from the Victorian novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who began his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford, with the opening, "It was a dark and stormy night."

Here is the bad opening by Rodney Reed, the runner-up:

As I stood among the ransacked ruin that had been my home, surveying the aftermath of the senseless horrors and atrocities that had been perpetrated on my family and everything I hold dear, I swore to myself that no matter where I had to go, no matter what I had to do or endure, I would find the man who did this . . . and when I did, when I did, oh, there would be words.
You can read the bad openings by the winners and runner-ups in each category here.

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