Elizabeth Dorfman of Bainbridge Island, WA, is the 32nd grand prize winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest that that began at San Jose State University in 1982. The contest challenges entrants to compose bad opening sentences to imaginary novels and takes its name from the Victorian novelist George Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who began his Paul Clifford (1830) with “It was a dark and stormy night.“ Although Lytton did not originate the line, he exploited its familiarity to begin his novel, as have several other writers who followed him.
In the Fantasy category, we find these literary gems:
As he strolled among the Kenthellians, through the wide parndamets along the River Elinionen, thrimbening his tometoria and his Almagister’s scrollix, he thought to himself, “Wow, it is sure convenient there’s a glossary for made-up fantasy words on page 1048.” —Stephen Young
After years of Dame Gothel’s tyrrany, Rapunzel was only seconds from freedom, until, with an agonized scream, the prince plunged to his death in the thorns below, grasping a handful of detached blond strands—the golden stair having been irreparably weakened by the deficiency of Vitamins B3, B6, and B7 in his love’s new celiac-friendly diet. —Kevin Hogg, Cranbrook, BC, Canada
The Swan Queen spread her wings with all the quick grace of a businessman hailing a taxi in NYC and leaped high into the air like said businessman swearing and jumping back from the curb as the taxi he was hailing speeds past and splatters him with sludgy city puddle water, but in a more graceful way than the second bit. —Thor F. Carden, Madison, TN