Here’s one contest I’m not sure you want to win: the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University. The contest is named for Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose novel, Paul Clifford, started “It was a dark and stormy night.”
This contest calls for entrants to submit entries for the worst story openings ever—as many as you like—of no more than 50 to 60 words. Entries will be judged in categories, and there will be winners in each categories as well as overall winners.
Quill & Quire reports that Canadians have mastered the bad romance category—dubious praise indeed. Reading about it on Canada Day is a little depressing.
My personal favourite is the Vile Puns category. (What’s better/worse than Stray Injures Indy Knight, Hicks Changing Lances or ‘Serpico’ with Alpo chinos.)
Read the best of the worst at the Bulwer-Lytton website: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/
For contests that you really do want to win, check out Brian Henry’s Quick Brown Fox blog, or pick up the current The Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar, published by White Mountain Publications.