Davian Aw has won the 2012 Lyttle Lytton contest, writing an awful sentence in 25 words or fewer. Here is the winning sentence: “Agent Jeffrey’s trained eyes rolled carefully around the room, taking in the sights and sounds.”
The contest was inspired by the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a famous challenge to write the worst opening to a novel. Many of these winning entries are quite long, so the Lyyttle Lytton contest limits entries to 25 words or fewer. Founder Adam Cadre explained why Aw won the contest:
When I read the first half of this, I thought, yes, I’ve heard editors grumbling about the use of “eyes” for “gaze”: “‘Her eyes landed on his lapel pin’ — didn’t that hurt?” Then I reached the “and sounds” part and knew this one would be tough to beat. There were entries at which I laughed more, but the combination of craft, plausibility, and cringe factor — and, yes, laughs — put this one on top.