Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest

In which you have to try and match the rather individual style of a man who wrote opening sentences like:

"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."

I think it's too late to enter now, but last years year's entries are well worth a look.

My favourite of m'colleague Richard's entries:

"Lorna had a neck like a swan’s; curved and elegant, delicate yet strong, beautiful and pale, plus donkey’s legs and a face like a bee."

My attempt at a fantasy novel-style opening:

"Elgin the Black moved panther-like through the dark palace corridors, except no panther could hold a sword, also Elgin wasn't on all fours (although he nearly was on the stairs, which were quite steep, but in the end not that steep) and the 'Black' bit of his name referred not to any colouration, but to the seriousness of his deeds, and his real name wasn't even Elgin, it was 'Trig'."

Richard's is better, but then he is older.


Fat Roland said...

This is great. It's like a million writing forums I've visited.

That site is a bit hard on old fiction though. Surely 19th and early 20th century writing is meant to be full of bad exposition; that's the rule.

Rose said...

Oh, excellent. And both lovely attempts, but Richard's is better. Good use of "donkey" there.

patroclus said...

I used to live quite near Elgin.

It's year's.

Amanda said...

Richard's is better, good mental imagery, but your's is nice too :)

Richard said...

Ha ha! I have pwned you, Kernow-boy!

james henry said...



Imo said...

I read every single entry and have to say that the Romance Section entry involving a 50 year old called Rachel is the one that really made me laugh out loud. Probably because it was rude - opps!