The Little Lytton contest is an internet-based writing contest where the aim is to come up with the worst opening sentence to a novel that you can – with the caveat that it must be under 200 characters. I discovered it a few years ago, and have mentioned it on the blog before. The idea of the contest is to be “intentionally unintentionally funny” – to purposely write a few words that sound bad and accidentally funny, but which also sound like they could be the real opening sentence of a real book.
The competition, led by author Adam Cadre (the writer of my favorite piece of Interactive Fiction – Photopia) runs over the course of a whole year, with winners announced each April. Last year, I entered. A little while ago the winners for 2014 were announced.
This year, the winner came from someone named Alex Thorpe:
“Together, we will beat them all,” she whispered, caressing the circlet-girt fontanelles of her #royalbaby.
Not my favorite, but pretty funny.
I’m afraid I didn’t win, nor did I make it into the list of runner-ups. My entry was this:
Paolo stood on the cliff top, his chest bare squinting in the wind.
I quite like my entry. I think it genuinely sounds like the opening sentence of a novel, and one that is going to be pretty bad (where I have a hard time imagining the hashtag in the winning entry really being written in all seriousness). I pondered for a while swapping the words “chest” and “bare” to make it sound less ambiguously bad, but in the end stuck with what you read here.
Oh well, I’ve already begun working on my entry for next year. It’s going to involve elephants.