Our Weekly Reader: 16 June 2016

contestYou Have a Body in a Hot Tub!

A not-so-serious monthly contest for readers,  writers, quasi-writers, and occasional writers. At the beginning of each month, we will publish a “prompt”–a story idea, a character suggestion, a first line, or some other random bit of information–for a bit of writing fun.  The rules, as with Bulwer-Lytton, are fairly straight forward.

  • Take the prompt and go with it. The choice of genres is yours.
  • Submissions should be no longer than 500 words (roughly two pages) and should be submitted in the text of an email no later than the last day of each month. Email should be sent to whistlestopbooks@gmail.com
  • Folks are welcome to submit as many stories as they wish, thus improving their chances at an odd and somewhat random Grand Prize handed out on December 31st,

On the first of each month, we will announce the winner and runner(s)-up on our Facebook page and on the website. The winner gets a free novel (the choice of genres is yours) from Whistle Stop Books (stop in and pick up). As extra incentive, we’ll publish the winning entry (and a few of the runners-up) on the Whistle Stop Books website.

The monthly winners are chosen by our “distinguished” panel of judges who we’ve bribed into doing this.

The Grand Prize, a somewhat random item, is awarded on December 31st.

JUNE-JULY 2016 prompt: A dead body in a hot tub.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

In 1830, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton wrote, “It was a dark and storm 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.” Bulwer-Lytton’s phrase remains both far better known than the author himself and the one phrase guaranteed to drive creative writing teachers to near distraction. As an old friend often noted, “it was a dark and story night” is the literary equivalent to “moon behind trees” for art teachers–an image so over used that it self-parodies the artist’s intent.

In 1982, the English Department at San Jose State decided to start a literary competition for the opening line to the worst novel never written and named the contest in Bulwer-Lytton’s honor. The rules are fairly simple:

  • Write one sentence (aim at no more than 60 words) in what ever genre you like and submit you entry either an index card (sentence on the front and contact information on the back) or in an email (no attached files, please) to the Grand Panjandrum at San Jose State.
  • The “official” deadline is April 15; the actual deadline is June 30th, so there is still a bit of time if you wish to try your hand at writing the worst opening line to the worst novel never written.

For more information on the Fiction Contest, to become a bulwarian, or just to waste a bit of time while you are at your computer, check out the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (Where WWW means Wretched Writers Welcome).

Weekly Calendar:

  • June 16: Pick-a-Book — Reading, Art, and Storytelling Activities for kids ages 6 to 9. 1:00-3:00 p.m. (activities and stories vary per week).
  • June 19: Paper Modeling for Grandparents. Learn basic paper modeling techniques you can pass on to your grandkids. 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. (Adults) Part of our ongoing “Grandparents 101” Series.
  • June 21: Read Anything Good Lately?  Our weekly Tuesday Afternoon Book Chat. (Adults)
  • June 21: Mysteries @ The Depot…a Book Chat for Mystery Lovers. 7 to 8:30 p.m. Includes a very cool challenge for the intrepid sleuth. This week’s challenge: the perfect villain.
  • June 22: Construct This–Paper Building Projects for Kids ages 9 and up. 2:00-4:00 p.m.


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