It’s time for our second annual GAME OF GROANS contest! This is Fantasy Literature‘s version of the Bad Hemingway, Faux Faulkner, and Bulwer-Lytton fiction contests.

Your task is to write an atrocious example of original fantasy fiction. Something that really makes us groan! It could be several paragraphs long, or only a couple of sentences.

To inspire you, we offer the winning entry from last year’s GAME OF GROANS contest. This little gem was written by E.J. Jones:mummy

The Sleeper: A Retelling of “Sleeping Beauty”


Her beauty was paralyzing, he thought, his own immobility only exceeded by her deathlike slumber on her bed of angel-wing feathers. He admired every inch, shuddering with joy as he proceeded: her cascade of golden-sunlight locks, her cobalt-blue eyes (these, of course, were shut, but they were open and wakeful in his memory), her flawless peach skin that was marred only by the streaks of ebony lashes upon her nobly high cheekbones, her… lips.


He had never actually kissed a girl before (save his good mother and sisters), but he would have thrust a dagger through his own breast rather than leave the princess when he had the faintest hope of saving her from a century’s nightmares and, possibly, horrific sleep apnea. With another shudder, this one of anticipation, he pressed his own, rather inferior lips against hers –


A deep, rumbling voice emanated from her willowy throat. “Villain, unhand me! I am not the fair princess that you believe me to be, but her true love and favorite ninepins partner, in that order! Just as the curse took hold, I took her place upon her bed in order to protect her from foul knaves such as yourself from laying their meaty paws upon her!”


“Fear not,” breathed the prince in a surprisingly high, melodic voice. “For I am the very same princess you protected so well! Your love has set me free from my curse!”


The two embraced.


“Shall we play once more at ninepins, my love?” he murmured into her hair.


“Let us go at once! But,” she added, wagging her slender finger at him, “we must take care to avoid… THE DREADED SLEEPER!”

Can you top that? The reader who writes the worst paragraph will choose a book from our stacks.


  • Bill Capossere

    BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.