Contest Rules

The rules for 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. (A 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. Entries must be “original” (as it were) and previously unpublished.

  • 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 is June 30. Winners are typically announced in July or August depending on our panel of undistinguished judges.

  • The contest accepts submissions every day of the livelong year. 

  • In keeping with the gravitas, high seriousness, and general bignitude of the contest, the grand prize winner will receive … a pittance (and bragging rights).

  • Please inflict your entries using our form below. 2019 winners were announced on August 28, 2019.

  • Finally, a tip: resist the temptation to work some variation of "it was a dark and stormy night."

The best of Edward-Bulwer Lytton:

"Humor is the sunshine of the mind."

"Talent does what it can; genius does what it must."

"There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application of a rough truth."

"What men want is not talent. It’s purpose. In other words, not the power to achieve, but the will to labor."

"To be happy, you must learn to forget yourself."

Contest Entries

First, some notes and tips:

  • Please put your name and location as you'd like them to appear on the 2020 Winners page.

  • Currently you won't receive an email confirmation with your submissionif you see a confirmation message when you click Send, rest assured we received your entry.

  • Want to put a word in italics? Just add an asterisk on either side (like *this*) and we'll convert it. (Unfortunately the form doesn't offer highlighting.)

Thanks for participating, and may the worst man or woman win!

Would you like to drop the Grand Panjandrum a line about a different matter? You'll find him  here  (eventually...he does golf frequently). For technical issues, errors, and such like please contact our Little Panjandrum here.