It was a dark and stormy night...(and he had to pee)

Dateline: Thu 10 Apr 2008

Mentor Peter J. Welling, a published author of children's stories and a teacher of aspiring writers in Indianapolis, sends notice that the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is in full swing.

You know the drill: this is the one that encourages, and yes rewards, bad fiction in the form of parody. You simply come up with the most god-awful sentence in English you can imagine, slap in some characters, drama and a hint of plot, and away you go. The inspiration is the Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who died in 1873. But before he did, he began a novel, "Paul Clifford", with the now immortal words, "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Here's last year's winner, from Jim Gleeson, 47, a media tech and slacker in Madison, Wis.:

"Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee."

Thanks to Peter for reminding us that writing can still be fun.

Here's the link if you want to try your hand:


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