In 1982, Scott Rice, an English professor at San Jose State University, founded the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest—in which entrants are challenged “to write an atrocious opening sentence to the worst novel never written”—named, of course, after Edward Bulwer-Lytton, best known for his purple prose and the iconic opening line “it was a dark and stormy night.”
Every year, thousands of writers submit their terrible sentences to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and a panel of judges chooses the best of the worst (or the worst of the worst), in addition to several category winners and “dishonorable mentions.” The winning sentence in 2022? It goes like this:
“I knew she was trouble the second she walked into my 24-hour deli, laundromat, and detective agency, and after dropping a load of unmentionables in one of the heavy-duty machines (a mistake that would soon turn deadly) she turned to me, asking for two things: find her missing husband and make her a salami on rye with spicy mustard, breaking into tears when I told her I couldn’t help—I was fresh out of salami.”
Chef’s kiss! Congratulations to John Farmer of Aurora, Colorado, who definitely deserves a sandwich.
[h/t The Mary Sue]