Sunday, November 21st, 2010

The Bulwer–Lytton Fiction Contest invites contestants “to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels” — taking as its model the opening sentence to Edward George Bulwer-Lytton‘s 1830 novel, Paul Clifford:

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.

Frankly, I don’t think that opening sentence is so much bad as out of style.

Not only did Bulwer-Lytton coin that famous opening line, he also coined the phrases the great unwashed, pursuit of the almighty dollar, and the pen is mightier than the sword.

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