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Bad writing (Jonathan R. Partington)

The opening lines of two novels by Edward George Earle

 "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 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."
                    From 'Patal Clifford' (1830)

 "Ho, Diomed, well met! Do you sup with Glaucus tonight?" said a
young man of small stature, who wore his tunic in those loose and
effeminate folds which proved him to be a gentleman and a
                    From 'The Last Days of Pompeii' (1834)

Today he is commemorated in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest,
held every year in the United States. The aim is to write the
worst possible opening sentence for an imaginary novel -- and the
following entries were awfully successful:

 "The camel died quite suddenly on the second day, and Selena
fretted sulkily and, buffing her already impeccable nails -- not
for the first time since the journey began -- pondered snidely if
this would dissolve into a vignette of minor inconveniences like
all the other holidays spent with Basil."

 "He was a Portuguese who had never fished and she was a Chinese
who couldn't cook rice; he had enough hair on his chest to make a
coat for a very small Hungarian and the way she kissed it made
him wonder why."

 "Plgnthgr had hidden his mtskrthkl in the mothchenth, and now he
had taken the beautiful and magical Mekthkn and her infant
Trmyljp there, too, and they all trembled as they heard the
fearful chtlems of the invading Hrnewrs just above."

Quoted in an EPSON advert.

Appeared on our local bulletin board (GROGGS) in August.

{ed The full collection is available in the "It was a dark and stormy
night" books, which are published each year with the competitions results.}

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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