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 Entries must be “original” (as it were) and previously unpublished.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 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. 2020 winners were announced on August 1, 2020.

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

Enter the Contest

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.)

  • If after you've made a submission you wish to amend or replace it, just submit again and include a note in parentheses or brackets that indicates replacement. Please include the email address you used for the earlier submission and if possible the date (to make it easier for us to find).

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.