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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Federal Way Writer's Ways With Westerns Wins First In Parody Competition

News about fellow local writers and their accomplishments travels like lightening. Sentences with this degree of unoriginality however pedestrian hardly crack the fierce levels of competition by those men and women who choose to tackle the challenges of the higher, loftier echelons of literary achievement.

So I'm more than pleased in a Olympic year to pass along the news that just as the stories of the competition in Beijing are being written that a Federal Way resident, writer David McKenzie has taken first place in the Bulwer-Lytton Ficton Contest's Western Division according to an article published in today's Seattle Times by staff reporter Nancy Bartley, (Local writers win bad prose prizes, August 7, 2008.)

Hearing this heartening information about the good fortune of a fellow writer from the same environs in the South Sound - by the way Congratulations David, I literally rushed over to the website of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest to see what all of the fuss was about!

Thus I learned that the competition has been a part of the writing universe since 1982 when Professor Scott Rice of the English Department at San Jose State University drew inspiration from the discovery years before by a younger version of himself in graduate school days of the identity of the author Edward George Bulwar-Lytton, who penned the infamous opening line: "It was a dark and stormy night", and launched what the website terms : a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worse of all possible novels.

So there we have it. A talented member of the arts and writing community in our neck of the woods has topped out the competition and now stands for at least this year, in the top of his class at writing the worse opening sentence to a Western.

Those writers who attain the coveted title and recognition that this prize brings with it not only successfully hurdled over the challenge of writing bad prose in the 50 to 60 word submissions that contest rules suggest, they faced the prospect of trying to be noticed in a slew of possibilities as there is no limit imposed on the number of entries which can be submitted by one writer.

But however earnest it's all in fun as while entries are accepted the entire year around the official deadline has been set annually at April 15 because the contest website cheekily notes it : is a date that Americans associate with painful submissions and making up bad stories!

For those of us writers and would-be authors who have not had the good fortune to be tapped by the writing gods for such honors, the question now on the floor is that following the footsteps of the nimble McKenzie, will other keyboards in the area be furiously subject to the numerous tapping of fingers it may take to produce another such champion from our area in this or any of the other categories in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, whetted by glow of this nationally prominent writing achievement in time for the 2009 competition?

Stay tuned! Meanwhile, click here for additional details about the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

1 comment:

Stephanie Frieze said...

Thank you, Mizu, for bringing Mr. McKenzie and the competition to our attention! Thanks for being a voice for Federal Way.