Off topic: Bad writing award winners announced
Thread poster: RominaZ

RominaZ  Identity Verified
Argentina
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 15, 2012

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The winners for the 2012 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been announced, giving us this year’s best worst writing. The winner this year was Cathy Bryant of Manchester, England, who came up with this beautiful dud:

As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting.

The annual contest awards the writers who can conceive of the very worst opening sentences imaginable. Started in 1982 at San Jose State University, the Bulwer-Lytton awards are a nod to the novelist and playwright Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose “It was a dark and stormy night” begins with the following:

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

Here are some other winners from this year’s awards. Click here for the full list of awfulness.


She slinked through my door wearing a dress that looked like it had been painted on … not with good paint, like Behr or Sherwin-Williams, but with that watered-down stuff that bubbles up right away if you don’t prime the surface before you slap it on, and – just like that cheap paint – the dress needed two more coats to cover her. — Sue Fondrie, Appleton, WI


They still talk about that fateful afternoon in Abilene, when Dancing Dan DuPre moonwalked through the doors of Fat Suzy’s saloon, made a passable reverse-turn, pirouetted twice followed by a double box-step, somersaulted onto the bar, drew his twin silver-plated Colt-45s and put twelve bullets through the eyes of the McLuskey sextuplets, on account of them varmints burning down his ranch and lynching his prize steer. — Ted Downes, Cardiff, U.K.


William, his senses roused by a warm fetid breeze, hoped it was an early spring’s equinoxal thaw causing rivers to swell like the blood-engorged gumlines of gingivitis, loosening winter’s plaque, exposing decay, and allowing the seasonal pot-pouris of Mother Nature’s morning breath to permeate the surrounding ether, but then he awoke to the unrelenting waves of his wife’s halitosis. — Guy Foisy, Orleans, Ontario


As I gardened, gazing towards the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug – innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons – and in feeling that warm slime, be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me. — Mary E. Patrick, Lake City, SC


Source: PWxyz

It would be a challenging exercise to render the translation of these paragraphs into other languages. Want to give it a try?


 

missdutch  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:44
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
Worst writing? Aug 15, 2012

Well, I think they're quite good, albeit in a disgusting way. I'd define them as Baroque.

I don't know whether the authors are taking the p***, because those pieces of writing do not read like truly bad writing, in fact, they're quite sophisticated and I can catch a glimpse of irony, or maybe it's just me.

This is my take on the last one:
Mentre mi dedicavo al giardino, mirando il cielo autunnale, mi punse vaghezza di far scivolare un dito lungo la scia di muco lasciata da una solitaria lumaca maculata, strusciante innocua vicino ai miei rododendri, e quella sensazione di calda viscidezza mi riportò repentina sul pianeta Alderon, tra i tentacoli dell'alieno che mi amava.

Actually, it's great fun to translate those things. It allows me plenty of alliterations, assonances and consonances.

Well done to the winners and thank you, Romina. It made my day!


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:44
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Amanda McKittrick Ros Aug 15, 2012

http://www.nickpage.co.uk/worstweb/ros/ros.html

Amanda McKittrick Ros, whom my mother once knew, is internationally recognised as the worst ever writer in the English language.

Hailed (if that's the right word) by everyone from Aldous Huxley to C. S. Lewis, the admirers of Amanda Ros were in the habit of meeting for readings, "to see who could read Ros' work for the longest length of time while keeping a straight face".

But some of Romina's examples also approach the awfulness of Amanda Ros.

[Edited at 2012-08-15 16:27 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not so bad to translate Aug 15, 2012

Here's the third one in Brazilian Portuguese:

William, ao ter seu olfato atiçado por uma cálida brisa pútrida, pensou que fosse o degelo de um equinócio primaveril prematuro fazendo os rios se encherem como mucosas túrgidas de sangue pela gengivite, soltando a placa do inverno, expondo as cáries, e permitindo que a cornucópia sazonal de odores matinais da natureza permeasse a atmosfera circundante, porém então ele foi despertado pelas recalcitrantes ondas do bafo de sua mulher.


Surprisingly, Google Translate come out bad enough, though better than had I expected, upon back-translating into English:
William, having his nose fanned by a warm breeze putrid, thought it was the melting of a premature vernal equinox making the rivers fill up as turgid mucosal blood by gingivitis, plaque loosening of winter, exposing the cavities, and allowing the cornucopia of seasonal morning smells of nature permeate the surrounding atmosphere, but then he was awakened by the waves of the breath of recalcitrant wife.


I still prefer this kind of stuff to machine-translated Chinglish; at least it makes more sense, albeit not enough.


 

Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:44
English to Polish
+ ...
:) Aug 15, 2012

"As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting."

This is the most romantic sentence I've ever readicon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2012-08-15 22:02 GMT]


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:44
Hebrew to English
50 shades of grey Aug 15, 2012

Haven't read it, but seen excerpts and the writing in those is truly dire. Yet it's flying off the shelves. Have seen some pretty scathing criticisms of it and there are some truly hilarious spoofs out there.

 

missdutch  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:44
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
50 shades of chav Aug 16, 2012

It's a masterpiece!

http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=763905

Unfortunately, bad literature always sells like hotcakes.

Ty Kendall wrote:

Haven't read it, but seen excerpts and the writing in those is truly dire. Yet it's flying off the shelves. Have seen some pretty scathing criticisms of it and there are some truly hilarious spoofs out there.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Fine writing Aug 16, 2012

Ty Kendall wrote:

Haven't read it, but seen excerpts and the writing in those is truly dire. Yet it's flying off the shelves. Have seen some pretty scathing criticisms of it and there are some truly hilarious spoofs out there.


I haven't read it either, but I'm pretty sure that readers in search of a sexual frisson are not much concerned by (or aware of) quality writing.
J


 


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