(The Blog)

And now for a few words about words (and many other things)...

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Entries in Wisconsin (1)


The best of the worst

Congratulations are in order to Sue Fondrie, an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, whose entry has been declared the overall winner of the 29th annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges entrants "to compose truly awful opening sentences for imaginary novels."

Fondrie claimed the grand prize with a mere 26 words, the shortest winner in the contest's history and, at 169 characters, nearly short enough to qualify as a tweet:

"Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine," Fondrie wrote, "chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories."

However, of all the announced winners and runners up (there were nearly a dozen categories), my personal favorite was cobbled together by Mike Mayfield of Austin, TX, who claimed second place in the Adventure division:

Sensing somehow a scudding lay in the offing, Skipper Bob tallied his tasks:  reef the mains'l, mizzen, and jib, strike and brail the fores'l, mizzen stays'l and baggywrinkles, bowse the halyards, mainsheets, jacklines and vangs, turtle and belay fast the small cock, flemish the taffrail warps, batten the booby hatch, lay by his sou'wester, and find the bailing bucket.

Check out all the 2011 results here.

DISCLAIMER: Bad writing is only acceptable within protected environments such as this relatively prestigious bad-writing contest, in which it has been crafted intentionally to showcase just how bad writing can be. Bad writing should never be allowed to stand unedited when, as is usually the case, it is put forth earnestly in an attempt to produce good writing.