Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Worst Writing About NYC

Most writers attempt to write well even if they don't (this blog is Exhibit A in the doesn't succeed buts tries hard department). But apparently there's a contest out there that celebrates bad writing: it's called the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest that gives a "three-figure" prize "to the person who fashions the most wretched opening sentence to an imaginary novel."

This year it was for an imaginary novel about NYC. The winning line:

“Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped ‘Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.’ ”

I wish I had entered this contest, I might have been able to win. My atrocious fake opening line:

"He could not apologize enough to her, just like no amount of mustard could make a stale pastrami on rye palatable."

Awful, right? Can you top that?

BTW, Bulwer-Lytton was an English Baron poet/playwright/politician who coined some famous phrases we still use today.


  1. I challenge you to read through The Last Days of Pompeii without cackling furiously, tears streaming down, clutching your sides, and rocking back and forth.

  2. I really enjoy your unassuming writing style actually.

  3. SS - I'll put that on my list of books I should run when I'm old.

    Zen - Thanks! Believe me, I can write very pretentiously. In fact, it's a struggle for me not too.


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