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This contest, brainchild of Adam Cadre (author of Ready, Okay!), is the lyttle syster of The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.1 The Lyttle-Lytton Contest has been running annually for two years (since 2001, inclusive).

A brief sketch of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, the Victorian novelist upon whom the original contest is based:

A description of The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest and its offshoot, The Lyttle-Lytton Contest, is available at The Lyttle-Lytton Contest homepage:3

The annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest challenges entrants to pen the world's most atrocious first line to a novel. Winners - and, for that matter, runners-up and honorable mentions - are generally very long. An example from the 2000 contest, singled out by the contest organizer as an especially strong contender:

Gwendolyn, a world-class mountaineer, summoned the last of her strength for one more heroic haul on the nylon strap (for she was, after so many failed attempts, dangerously close to exhaustion) and looked heavenward with resolve, aware that, in spite of her fatigue and anguish, she must breach the crevice in one well-coordinated movement, somehow cleave the smooth fissure with the flimsy synthetic strand even though she was chaffed raw by her repeated efforts, or more sensibly, just give the heave-ho to this new-fangled (and painfully small) Victoria's Secret thong and slip into her well-worn - and infinitely more roomy - knickers.

I say, bleah. Brevity is the soul of wit, and this goes on and on and on and then it goes on and on and on some more and then it goes on for a bit after that. Long, long, long. Much funnier, sez I, is the likes of this:

Jennifer stood there, quietly ovulating.

As such, because its entries cannot rely upon drawn-out descriptions and metaphors, The Lyttle-Lytton Contest is much easier to digest. It also has the added property that its entries make much better nodeshells and are easier to /msg than those of The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

Cadre provides the following clarifications regarding the 25-word limit: (abridged)
  • Contractions count as one word. "Don't" is one word; so is "I'd've." You get one free hyphen per word.
  • Punctuation doesn't count as a word so long as it's being used as punctuation and not as a lexical element.
  • You can enter more than once. However, the maximum length of all your entries combined for a given contest is 25 words. (his emphasis)

In 2002, Cadre expanded the contest to include an alternate version:

Contest A
    Your task is to write the first line of an imaginary novel. Your goal is to make it hilariously bad.
Contest Z
    Your task is to write the last line of an imaginary novel. Your goal is to make it hilariously bad.

Strangely, the 2002 entries (in either contest) were not nearly as funny as those from 2001.

So, without furter ado, here are some notable Lyttle-Lytton entries.I have wilfully omitted Cadre's deadpan deconstruction of why each entry is funny:

The 2002 contest proper is over, with the results published, as of April 14, 2002, but not on E2! If you /msg me with your entry (or entries, as long as the total length is under twenty-five words), I will place it on this page.

Just because the contest entries are soft-linked and would make very exciting names for nodes does not mean that I'm daring you to fill in those nodeshells. Okay, I am daring you. (Double-daring you.)

1 http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/
2 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=13169&cid=92929)
3 http://adamcadre.ac/lyttle.html
4 2002 Contest Z winner.
5 2002 Contest A winner.
6 2002 Contest A honorable mention.
7 2001 winner.
8 2001 honorable mention.
9 Listed by several Internet sources, save B-L homepage, as fourth place in 2001 The Bulwer-Lytton Contest.

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