And: Even. More. Zombies.

Ok, the title line of this post came directly from a recent TV Guide Fall Preview magazine headline. And, while we love wildly inappropriate use of punctuation, this is simply sad.

Come. On. People.  Please, learn to write a simple sentence.  As you all know, we at FAB are not exactly grammatical sticklers, but this type of usage is completely uncalled for.

“And even more zombies” would have been at least a fragment. Could we have lived with that? Sure.

Want higher impact? Try using font style or font weight variations, as in: And even more ZOMBIES!

With an entire magazine typography department, there are better ways to express the thought than — And: Even. More. Zombies.

The Walking Dead is on AMC. We have never watched the show. But now that we know it has David Morrissey? We just might have to tune in.

A little inspiration for those of you thinking to go all Bulwer-Lytton this week.

Ah, the Last Days of Pompeii! Good Times.

For those of you seeking inspiration for the Bulwer-Lytton contest, here are some selections from the 2010 winners, well actually, not, but the runners-up  and dishonorable mentions which we think are even better than the winners in almost all cases.

Grand Prize Runner Up

Through the verdant plains of North Umbria walked Waylon Ogglethorpe and, as he walked, the clouds whispered his name, the birds of the air sang his praises, and the beasts of the fields from smallest to greatest said, “There goes the most noble among men” — in other words, a typical stroll for a schizophrenic ventriloquist with delusions of grandeur. — Tom Wallace of Columbia, SC

Adventure: Runner-Up:

When Hru-Kar, the alpha-ranking male of the silver-backed gorilla tribe finished unleashing simian hell on Lt. Cavendish, the once handsome young soldier from Her Majesty’s 47th Regiment resembled nothing so much as a crumpled up piece of khaki-colored construction paper that had been dipped in La Victoria chunky salsa. — Greg Homer of Placerville, CA

Detective: Runner-Up:

As Holmes, who had a nose for danger, quietly fingered the bloody knife and eyed the various body parts strewn along the dark, deserted highway, he placed his ear to the ground and, with his heart in his throat, silently mouthed to his companion, “Arm yourself, Watson, there is an evil hand afoot ahead. — Dennis Pearce of Lexington, KY

Historical Fiction: Runner-Up:

The band of pre-humans departed the cave in search of solace from the omnipresent dangers found there knowing that it meant survival of their kind, though they probably didn’t understand it intellectually since their brains were so small and undeveloped but fundamentally they understood that they didn’t like big animals that ate them. Mike Mayfield of Austin, TX

Purple Prose Runner-Up:

The wind whispering through the pine trees and the sun reflecting off the surface of Lake Tahoe like a scattering of diamonds was an idyllic setting, while to the south the same sun struggled to penetrate a sky choked with farm dust and car exhaust over Bakersfield, a town spread over the lower San Joaquin Valley like a brown stain on a wino’s trousers, which is where, unfortunately, this story takes place. Dennis Doberneck of Paso Robles, CA

Romance: Dishonorable Mention:

Cynthia had washed her hands of Philip McIntyre – not like you wash your hands in a public restroom when everyone is watching you to see if you washed your hands but like washing your hands after you have been working in the garden and there is dirt under your fingernails — dirt like Philip McIntyre.Linda Boatright of Omaha, NE

Winner: Western

He walked into the bar and bristled when all eyes fell upon him — perhaps because his build was so short and so wide, or maybe it was the odor that lingered about him from so many days and nights spent in the wilds, but it may just have been because no one had ever seen a porcupine in a bar before.Linda Boatright of Omaha, NE


There are more winning submission on the contest website. We encourage you to pop over and read them before sending in your final and finely polished sentence. And ok, we have to say it, we’d probably actually read and publish a “genuine” book submission from Linda Boatright.


Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, there’s still time to let your wretched voice be heard above the dark and stormy night!

For those writers well acquainted with the pain of reading a tortured sentence that’s made it into print while your beautiful prose languishes in a desk drawer . . . here is your chance to shine, and maybe even land an award. The annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is accepting submission until April 15!

The rules to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are childishly simple:

Each entry must consist of a single sentence but you may submit as many entries as you wish. (One fellow once submitted over 3,000 entries.)

Sentences may be of any length BUT WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT ENTRIES NOT GO BEYOND 50 OR 60 WORDS, and entries must be “original” (as it were) and previously unpublished.

Surface mail entries should be submitted on index cards, the sentence on one side and the entrant’s name, address, and phone number on the other.

E-mail entries should be in the body of the message, NOT IN AN ATTACHMENT (and it would be really swell if you submitted your entries in Arial 12 font). One e-mail may contain multiple entries.

Entries will be judged by categories, from “general” to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and so on. There will be overall winners as well as category winners.

The official deadline is April 15 (a date that Americans associate with painful submissions and making up bad stories). The actual deadline may be as late as early June.

The contest accepts submissions every day of the livelong year.

Wild Card Rule: Resist the temptation to work with puns like “It was a stark anddormy night.”

Finally, in keeping with the gravitas, high seriousness, and general bignitude of the contest, the grand prize winner will receive . . . a pittance.

Send your entries to:

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest
Department of English
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0090,

Inflict your entries electronically,HERE (and please include your name, phone number, and

Published in: on April 11, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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