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noma
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icon Bluffhanger (+2)  
Many, if not all of you, will have guessed by now that the earlier contest announcement was an April Fool's joke. So welcome to "Bluffhanger!" -- the real contest for April.

Have you ever used the expression "it's so bad, it's good"? Well, if you haven’t, hopefully this month you'll have that chance. We’re looking for your best worst writing. Yes, that was your “best WORST writing." In the spirit of the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest, which looks for the best of deliberately badly written opening lines for fiction, we want the best of your groan inducing, eye rolling, cringe causing, "so bad it's funny" fiction. The post following this announcement will give some examples, tips and links to get you started.

And to shoehorn this month's contest into the April "Bluff Me" tradition, the theme of this writing contest is cliffhangers. (Cliff... bluff? Get it? :rolleyes) From wikipedia, "A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma, or confronted with a shocking revelation. A cliffhanger is hoped to ensure the audience will return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma."

Any of us can write badly -- I do it all the time -- but can you write so badly, so well, that all stand back to bask in your brilliance? This is your chance to flex your bad writing muscles and offer up the best of the bad cliffhangers for the forum's amusement.

Contest description
Submit two sentences, written for any genre of fiction you like, but in the style of good "bad" writing. The first sentence must provide a cliffhanger ending to a chapter or story, and the second sentence must resolve the cliffhanger. To heighten the suspense, all entries will be hidden in "unhidetime" tags until the submission deadline passes, with your resolution sentence further concealed by "secret" tags. (See example below.)

Rules:
1. Entries are to be posted in the submission thread. (Everyone will be able to see posts, but the entries will be concealed by "unhidetime" tags.)
2. Each entry must contain two sentences. Length per sentence: 1 to 100 words.
3. Each entrant may submit up to two entries.
4. All submissions must be completely original and cannot have been previously published.
5. Submissions will be accepted up until Local Time:04-24-2009 at 08:00 PM.
6. Entries may be edited up until the submission deadline. Any entries edited after the deadline will be disqualified.
7. Entries must be surrounded by unhidetime tags, using the date/time April 24th, 2009 7:00PM. The resolution sentence must be concealed in secret tags within the unhidetime tags.
8. Judging will commence on April 25th, 2009 and will continue until Local Time:04-30-2009 at 08:00 AM.

Submission Format
[unhidetime=April 24, 2009 7:00PM]They were outnumbered, outgunned and outclassed, but if their favourite author, Terry Pratchett, had taught Chuck and Joe anything, it was that the million to one shot almost always succeeds.

[secret]Hopes high and guns blazing, they stormed out of the church, but surprisingly (to them at least) they were killed before they even had time to remember that, unfortunately, Mr. Pratchett was not referring to their world, and besides which, it really wasn't a million to one shot anyway.[/secret][/unhidetime]

Judging
Entries will be rated out of 10. Obviously judging will be very subjective, but entries should be judged mostly on how well the submission achieves the "so bad, it's good" criterion, as well as its creativity, amusement factor, how badly you wanted to know how the cliffhanger resolved and how satisfying the resolution was. Each entrant should give his or her own submission(s) a rating of 10.

Prizes
Winner: 100 rank points and a pick from the Prize Pile
Runner-up: 50 rank points
Dishonourable Mention: 25 rank points
First time contest participants: 10 rank points

Ties will be broken in a run-off poll.

[Last edited by noma at 04-04-2009 03:05 AM]
04-04-2009 at 03:02 AM
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noma
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icon Re: Bluffhanger (+1)  
There are all kinds of ways to write badly: purple prose, bad puns, run-on sentences, ridiculous use of simile or metaphor. The list goes on and on. The trick is to create GOOD bad writing, inspiring appreciative smiles (perhaps even laughter) for perfectly awful prose. Prose that raises the painful and trite to clever and funny.

Some examples follow, which -- while they may not be particularly clever or funny -- should at least give you a general idea of what I’m talking about. As well, so that I don’t accidentally co-opt one of your brilliant ideas, I’m just presenting generic sentences, not cliffhangers.

Click here to view the secret text

Please also feel free to browse through the winners of the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest -- a contest for the best worst opening line of a story -- for more (and better) example of good bad writing. But be vigilant and guard against plagiarism, accidental or otherwise. All entries must be completely original.

Bulwer Lytton Contest Result Lists
Courtesy of Znirk, a single comprehensive list of winners: Lyttle Lytton Contest Archives
"Lytonny" of Grand Prize Winners
2008 Winners, Runner-ups and Dishounarble Mentions - all categories
2007 Winners, Runner-ups and Dishounarble Mentions - all categories
2006 Winners, Runner-ups and Dishounarble Mentions - all categories

And keep it in mind that just because something might be truly bad, it still might not be good.

[Last edited by noma at 04-04-2009 05:23 PM]
04-04-2009 at 03:02 AM
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Dischorran
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quote:
noma wrote:
2006 Winners, Runner-ups and Dishounarble Mentions - all categories

Free Republic? Really? :rolleyes

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04-04-2009 at 03:15 AM
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Lamkin
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Bad writing, eh? I'm in. (It looks like my minor in English won't be for naught.)
04-04-2009 at 04:07 AM
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Sillyman
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quote:
noma wrote:
Unfortunate imagery
His eyes jumped angrily around the room, before landing with an almost audible thud upon his surprised nephew.


Halph? I knew I shouldn't have left him in that room with my pet eyes.

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FNORD
04-04-2009 at 05:11 AM
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techant
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And I had such a good photo,..too. :blush

Caught by that April Fools joke right in the kisser....or rather the shutter...:paperbag

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[Last edited by techant at 04-04-2009 07:32 AM]
04-04-2009 at 07:32 AM
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The Architest
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It's good I managed find "cliffhanger" from finnish Wikipedia! I'll join!
04-04-2009 at 12:15 PM
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Znirk
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icon Re: Bluffhanger (+1)  
More examples, with fewer words, may be found in the Lyttle Lytton Contest archives.
04-04-2009 at 12:58 PM
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noma
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We have eight entries so far. That's a pretty good start, but I know we've got loads of budding writers out there whose creativity is just bursting to come out of the closet. Jump in, the water's fine. And it's not like we're going to judge you or anything. Oh. Right. So yes, we're going to judge you, but this month it pays to be bad. So give it a try. Only two weeks left to get your entries in!
04-11-2009 at 05:28 AM
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DanielFishman
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Is the following (obviously not exactly what I've put but the same structure) considered just one sentence:

He called to them: "Ahoy! Come over here now!"
04-22-2009 at 12:40 AM
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Lamkin
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I wouldn't think so.
However, something like this might work:
"Ahoy!" he called out to them, adding hastily, "come over here now!"


[Last edited by Lamkin at 04-22-2009 02:09 AM]
04-22-2009 at 01:24 AM
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noma
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quote:
Lamkin wrote:
I wouldn't think so.
However, something like this might work:
"Ahoy!" he called out to them, hastily adding, "come over here now!"

To stay safely within the parameters of a sentence, I'd say you'd be best with something like: He called out to them, "Ahoy, come over here now!"
04-22-2009 at 02:17 AM
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Sillyman
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I would call it definitely one sentence. An interjection is not a sentence, regardless of whether it is set apart from the sentence by an exclamation point or by a comma (when the feeling's not as strong).

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FNORD
04-22-2009 at 03:54 AM
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noma
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There are only two days and a few hours left until the submission deadline, and you know what that means. Yes, soon we will get to participate in the judging process. (Oh, it also means there are just over two days to get your entries in.)

In preparation for judging, I was perusing the The Lyttle Lytton Contest site (a contest with slightly different rules from the Bulwer Lytton Contest and run by interactive fiction writer Adam Cadre.) What makes this site a great resource for judges as well as entrants is that, in the preamble before listing the winners and honourable mentions for 2006 to 2009, Adam explains what these types of contests are *not* about, and why it is so tricky to write bad sentences that are unintentionally funny, as oppposed to just bad sentences or funny sentences. Check it out: the Lyttle Lytton Contest

Warning: do not drink any liquids while reading.

[Last edited by noma at 04-22-2009 03:02 PM]
04-22-2009 at 01:53 PM
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noma
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Just a few hours of anticipation left. If you've got an idea, the window is closing. We're waiting with bated breath to see who will be the one to give it their all and bring home the gold... win the whole enchilada... bring their A-game, give 110 percent, win one for the gipper... and make us spray our drinks through our noses so that our keyboards stay dry, except those of us with Thinkpads who won't worry because we have spill-proof keyboards. Who will it be? Stay tuned.

[Last edited by noma at 04-24-2009 12:59 PM]
04-24-2009 at 12:59 PM
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agaricus5
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"Oh, my," I thought to myself as I tentatively slipped over on the 'so bad it's funny' fiction that had suddenly appeared everywhere from nowhere.

Click here to view the secret text


I almost wished I'd entered this contest, but I definitely can't compete with that sort of offering. Good luck to all of you in the voting!

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[Last edited by agaricus5 at 04-24-2009 09:10 PM]
04-24-2009 at 09:09 PM
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noma
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And now for your consideration... Do I need to repeat the "liquids" caution?

Thanks to all who entered. Voting poll up tomorrow!

04-24-2009 at 10:01 PM
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TimmyWing
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Hmm - at least I wasn't evidently the worst, and at least I'll get a complimentary 10 points for being a first-timer. :P
G'luck, everyone!

And not to be harsh, but shouldn't entries like The Architest's be disqualified due to more than two sentences?

[Last edited by TimmyWing at 04-25-2009 10:34 AM]
04-25-2009 at 10:23 AM
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noma
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Although I meant for participants to submit only two sentences per entry, a careful re-reading the rules will show that I was not explicit enough. The rule states that an entry must contain two sentences; it doesn't state it can't have more. My bad. So the Architest's entry complies with the rules, if not the spirit, of the contest, though I don't think he intended to exploit a loophole.

04-25-2009 at 01:33 PM
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