Where Bad is Beautiful – and terrible is divine


The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is an annual whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the most awkward sounding single sentence they can conjure while still conforming to basic rules of grammar and, for want of a better word, storytelling.

Named in honour of the English novelist and politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), this yearly foray into the absurd has been running since 1982 and attracts thousands of entries from all over the world. Competition for bad writing has never been so fierce. I’ve entered the last two years but so far haven’t managed to sink to the depths necessary to attract the judges eye. To give you an idea of the (sub)standard of writing required to achieve success in this arena, below is the winning entry as well as the runner-up from the 2016 contest:



This year I thought I’d sling some word wackle into one of the specialist genre categories. This is my entry for the horror section, though I believe it could just as easily qualify for the Purple Prose or Vile Puns’ sections:


Two of the ghastly mutant creature known as Son of Triceratops’ heads had stayed up all night debating whether their dentist really did deserve the plaque awarded to him that day by the Royal Association for the Prevention of Monster Cavities, whilst the third head, having already made up its mind on the subject and recognizing the importance of a good night’s sleep, nodded off early.


If you think you’ve got what it takes as a bottom-of-the-barrel word fumbler, entries close at the end of April.

4 thoughts on “Where Bad is Beautiful – and terrible is divine

  1. Frustration is an old friend of mine I like to introduce to others whenever the moment takes me.
    Thanks for playing along John.


  2. I’m too overwhelmed by the thought of marital odor-blending to even give this a try, Glen.

    I will say that I did see The Lady In The Van last night and that was all about odor too. You have to see it Glen. It was a perfect example of drawing a powerful story from the mundane and seemingly trivial. In many respects it tells every author they are surrounded by inspiration if they can only open their eyes wide enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie Smith is everyone’s favourite British actress over the age of 50 and I did hear good things about THE LADY IN THE VAN last year at the time of its release, so yeah, definitely one for me to check out.

    As for the marital odor-blending, they don’t call wedding rings the world’s smallest handcuffs for nothing.


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