It was a dark and stormy post—

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It was a dark and stormy post—

Bulwer-Lytton-200x274

It’s award season and the results are finally in!

No, no, not those awards, which remind us that the people who create children’s books are artists as well as craftspeople.

No, I’m talking about the Bulwer-Lytton Awards for worst opening sentence. It is Edward George Bulwer-Lytton whose 1830 masterpiece Paul Clifford begins:

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.

In his honor, each year hundreds of writers compete to write similarly overwrought and overextended sentences, and they are always a riot. Mere badness isn’t enough; these entries are all hilariously awful. Check them out at the link above!

  1. You mean I’ve been missing out on these every year? I’m still chortling over the winner in the detective category. Brillia…I mean, that was fun.

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  2. I liked the two detective ones and the children’s one the best.

    Poor Edward. He wasn’t very attractive was he? But he was a purple prose person and he appealed to purple people prose eaters.

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  3. Oy! These awards hold such a special place in my heart every year!! Thanks for the heads up!!

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  4. It’s the “except at occasional intervals” that gets me. :D

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  5. I think these prove just how much skill it takes to write well. Only talented writers could come up with lines as bad (and good at he same time) as these.

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