The Best Best of the Worst
Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Last week I invited you to come up with the worst first sentence with which to open a book in our Best of the Worst Contest. Goodness! You are a creative community indeed. We had 206 entries and comments. My team had the hardest time coming to a consensus on the best of the worst. Each entry was awful in its own unique way. We had to work diligently to separate the brilliantly bad from the solidly awful.
We ended up with four clear winners but a whole slew of dishonorable mentions for one reason or another. First of all, let me name some who deserved special dishonor:
- Beth McKinney and her Dukes of Hazard entry for a category I’ll call A Metaphor Too Far.
- Paula for coming up with a hilariously bad first sentence for the self-published book on writing. Awkward, Indeed.
- Tessa Afshar for Awful Alliteration.
- Cheryl Malandrinos for a Too Good to be Bad opener for Middle Grade.
- Donnie Nelson for Twisted Logic.
- Shirlee Abbott for Not Only Bad but Painfully Long.
- Sharyn Kopf for writing a Splendidly Bad Sentence that got Air Supply stuck in the heads of everyone who read her entry. *I’m all out of love. . .*
So, without further ado, the winners are. . .
Her blood-red lips glistened into a grin as she tossed her ebony eyes over her shoulder and hit the hunk hunkering behind her, and he tossed his blue eyes back at her, eyes that glistened like limpid pools into the depths of his soul, and they both wondered what this exchange of eyes might mean, but hers were too small for him and his too big for her. —Susan Roach [contemporary romance]
I hatched from good, solid stock, the first in my litter of larvae, born on a bad, browning banana…but already, my transience tamped down, a thick smog of sorrow on my gossamer wings. —Becky Jones [Fruit Fly Memoir]
A journey of loss begins with a single step, and they say morticians can do wonders these days, but how was I to know that when we were on the shark-fishing boat and they said “Toss the chum overboard!” they were talking about bait? —Andrew Budek-Schmeisser [Narrative Nonfiction]
Six months old, and already their love had picked up memories like lint, which, now that Maddie thought about it, was appropriate, since she and Brian met at the laundromat, when Maddie found herself hampered by a stubborn washing machine coin slot, but then snickered at the thought of being “hampered” while doing laundry, and then found herself explaining her snicker to the nearest laundromat patron, who turned out to be Brian and who, better yet, turned out to have a sense of humor even, well, dryer than her own. — Kirsten Wilson [“Clean” Romance]
I put together Readers’ Gift Baskets as prizes– filled with great books from some of my favorite clients, tea, and of course, chocolate. The four winners above– Susan, Becky, Andrew and Kirsten– need to send their mailing addresses to me at representation @ booksandsuch.com so I can send your prize to you. (You will need to remove the spaces from the email address and ignore the auto response you’ll receive.)
I would encourage all of those who entered to send your sentence on to the Bulwer-Lytton competition. And to each of you played, we thank you for giving us great guffaws of laughter.
Would you care to comment on the entries chosen? Tell me why you think I found them brilliantly bad. What do we learn from crafting one of these sentences?
See the best of the worst first sentences. Too much fun! Click to Tweet