Monday, July 31, 2006

World's worst writing

The Bulwar-Litton Fiction Contest, where www means "World's Worst Writing," has announced its 2006 winners. Named after Edward George Bulward Litton, who in the 1800s excelled at writing poor literature, this contest highlights the worst deliberately literature written. Bulwar-Litton is famous for this piece of prose, which Snoopy parodied in his quest to become the Great Dogmerican Novelist:

"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."
-- Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

To see 2006 winners, click here http://www.sjsu.edu/depts/english/2006.htm.

However, in a recent email from my dear friend in LA, Pat, I received some amazingly bad writing from high school essays submitted by English teachers across the country, God bless them each and every one. I remember the hell we put ours through. Once we delighted in making our math teacher cry. Here are some of the best [worst].
  • His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  • He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  • She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like the sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  • Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  • He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  • The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
  • McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  • From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  • Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
  • He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
  • Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  • The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  • He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  • The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  • It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  • He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

If today's kids are this creative, maybe the future is brighter than I thought.

3 comments:

Alpha Dog 2 said...

Who does that last one remind you of?

twodogsblogging said...

Yes, but in our case, it's two garbage trucks running head-long into each other, remember?

Lee William said...

hey, wait a minute ..i think i might have a chance of being a contender here