Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Best of the Worst

The title of Lori's Thursday Thirteen is a famous line and I doubt there is a writer out there that hasn't read it before...It was a dark and stormy night. I think it is considered one of the most cliched openings ever. But who wrote it? Snoopy? I must say, Snoopy (and his artist Charles M. Schultz) certainly immortalized it. But the deathless prose were written by Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton.

The full line was:

"It was a dark and stormy 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."
--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

His opening sentence was so memorable...and painful...that it is commemorated yearly by San Jose State University which has sponsored an annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

So my beauties, I challenge you. Capture the florid majesty that is a dreadful first line... The comments await your worst efforts. :-)

Just to get you started, I shall share one of mine. I wrote this when I was in my early 20s and even though it is indeed, VERY BAD, I have a fond spot in my heart for it. Why? Every time I read it, it makes me giggle.

"Ho, there you vile wench," her black-clad father cried in wrath, pointing his long, bony finger at her as she fled into the crimson glow of a perfect sunset.


  1. Oh, I love this one. I actually wrote this during my fanfic days and yes we were TRYING to write poorly. Ah, the rush you get when you succeed!

    This one still makes me laugh today.

    Phileas Fogg stared in horror at the offensive pimple on his upper lip as though it was Her Majesty divested of all her attire save for pasties, and those were not even black pasties, but red ones with dripping silk tassels that swayed like a charmed snake with every move of her regal hips, so much so that he sprang to his feet in a fervor of national pride, second only to his love of expensive port and bellowed, “God save the Queen!” at the top of his lungs.


  2. Talia,
    I love it. That was an excellent horrible first line. ROFLMAO

    Far better than my puny effort.

  3. Princess Morgaina Brianna Latetisha Felicia stomped her dainty foot on the flagstones of the king’s vast golden vaulted echoing audience chamber and tossed her long ebon locks streaked with diamond white while shouting, “Uncle! I will be heard in this chamber, though I am but woman, and a magicless woman at that, which is no matter for I shall not marry that cretin Daemon Von Aragonne the Dark Wizard!”