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Old 07-31-2007, 11:57 AM   #1
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Hilarious examples of bad writing—and it won a prize!

Some of these writing samples are really very funny.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/07/31/wor....ap/index.html

Quote:
Wisconsin man's mangled prose takes bad writing prize

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A Wisconsin man whose blend of awkward syntax, imminent disaster and bathroom humor offends both good taste and the English language won an annual contest Monday that salutes bad writing.

Jim Gleeson, 47, of Madison, Wisconsin, beat out thousands of other prose manglers in San Jose State University's 2007 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with this convoluted opening sentence to a nonexistent novel:

"Gerald began -- but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them 'permanently' meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash -- to pee," Gleeson wrote.

Scott Rice, an English professor at San Jose State, called Gleeson's entry a "syntactic atrocity" that displays "a peculiar set of standards or values." Rice has organized the contest since founding it in 1982.

Gleeson, who works at a Madison hospital setting up computer networks, said he submitted about 20 entries, and gave a little insight into what it takes to win the bad writing title and its $250 prize.

"It's like you take two thoughts that are not anything like each other and you cram them together by any means necessary," Gleeson said. He claimed he took time off from his current project, a self-help book for slackers entitled "Self-Improvement Through Total Inactivity," to pen his winning entry.

Gleeson credited his time in college with preparing him well. "There's a certain degree to which academia prepares you to write badly," Gleeson said wryly.

The contest takes its name from Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" famously begins "It was a dark and stormy night."

Entrants are asked to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Citations are handed out for several categories, including "dishonorable mention" awards for "purple prose" and "vile puns."
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:59 AM   #2
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And here are some examples of bad writing! Too funny

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/07/31/wor....ap/index.html


Quote:
Wince-inducing excerpts from a literary parody contest


(AP) -- Here are some wince-inducing excerpts, characterized by tangential clauses, prosaic inanity and errant punctuation, from the 25th annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a literary parody competition sponsored by San Jose State University.

Winner:

"Gerald began -- but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them 'permanently' meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash -- to pee."

-- Jim Gleeson, Madison, Wisconsin

Runner up:

"The Barents sea heaved and churned like a tortured animal in pain, the howling wind tearing packets of icy green water from the shuddering crests of the waves, atomizing it into mist that was again laid flat by the growing fury of the storm as Kevin Tucker switched off the bedside light in his Tuba City, Arizona, single-wide trailer and by the time the phone woke him at 7:38, had pretty much blown itself out with no damage."

-- Scott Palmer, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Other noteworthy submissions:

"LaVerne was undeniably underdressed for this frigid weather; her black, rain-soaked tank top offered no protection and seemed to cling to her torso out of sheer rage, while her tie-dyed boa scarf hung lifeless around her neck like a giant, exhausted, pipe cleaner recently discarded after near-criminal overuse by an obviously sadistic (and rather flamboyant) plumber."

-- Andrew Cavallari, Northfield, Illinois

"As the hippo's jaws clamped on Henry's body he noted the four huge teeth badly in need of a clean, preferably with one of those electric sonic toothbrushes, and he reflected that his name would be immortalized by his unusual death, since hippo killings are not a daily occurrence, at least not in the high street of Chipping Sodbury."

-- Tim Lafferty, Woking, England

"Danny, the little Grizzly cub, frolicked in the tall grass on this sunny Spring morning, his mother keeping a watchful eye as she chewed on a piece of a hiker they had encountered the day before."

-- Dave McKenzie, Federal Way, Washington

"Mary had a little lamb; its fleece was Polartec 200 (thanks to gene splicing, a diet of force-fed petrochemical supplements, and regular dips in an advanced surface fusion polymer), which had the fortunate side effect of rendering it inedible, unlike that other Mary's organic lamb which misbehaved at school and wound up in a lovely Moroccan stew with dried apricots and couscous."

-- Julie Jensen, Lodi, California

"The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife, not even a sharp knife, but a dull one from that set of cheap knives you received as a wedding gift in a faux wooden block; the one you told yourself you'd replace, but in the end, forgot about because your husband ran off with another man, that kind of knife."

-- Lisa Lindquist, Jackson, Michigan

"As her quivering lips met his, and her eyelashes fluttered softly on his sweating cheek, Dr. Robbins reflected, 'I didn't realize she had upper dentures . . . in fact, her slippery plastic palate reminds me of going down a waterslide that hasn't been properly chlorinated, as evidenced by the distinct nitrous and sulfurous emanations, or could it be sinus trouble?"'

-- Philip Bateman, Kenilworth, South Africa

"The droppings of the migrating Canada geese just missed the outdoor revelers at the inaugural Asian math puzzle competition, marking the first time that dung flew over Sudoku Fest."

— Kevin P. Craver, Lakewood, Illinois
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:20 PM   #3
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This is why I hate English teachers.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:53 PM   #4
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I think those entries are all genius. Well done.
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:09 PM   #5
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lancemc
This is why I hate English teachers.
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Old 07-31-2007, 03:13 PM   #7
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Re: Hilarious examples of bad writing—and it won a prize!

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Originally posted by BonoManiac

The contest takes its name from Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" famously begins "It was a dark and stormy night."

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Old 07-31-2007, 04:14 PM   #8
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I saw George commiting a police-backed robbery in a convenience store - the one over on 33rd street and 10th avenue, where I originally started my career as a professional pot maker, and also the same corner mentioned in the Bruce Springsteen song "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out", which I saw in a concert in Philly in 1982 with my buddy Eric, the same guy who once broke his nose in a poker game, which is a long story in and of itself and probably not worth retelling in this short amount of time - and I yelled, "Hey, how you doin?"
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:33 PM   #9
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Give this man a Pulitzer! Who I gotta sleep with round here to get this man a Pulitzer?
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Old 07-31-2007, 07:11 PM   #10
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The scarf/pipe cleaner one...
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