Friday, July 09, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night....

by Rachel
If you’re anything like me, you’re a little neurotic when it comes to words and you have an entire list of the ones you really hate. Of course this list is never written down, for fear of family or friends finding it and actually using those words in emails or casual conversation for laughs. But what’s worse than a hated single word is an entire sentence that makes my skin crawl!

There have been many times while reading books where I’ve come across sentences and have scrunched up my nose because of how dreadful a sentence was written. I’m sure every reader has been in the same position (especially if you’ve read John Updike). So, I’m happy to know that there’s a contest dedicated to the worst opening sentences. The competition may only be for imaginary fiction, but I’m pretty sure disturbing opening sentences like these exist everywhere.

Have you got a doozy of an opening sentence that made your skin crawl?


  1. Tom Swifties have to rate right up there: "Who left the blender on?" he said disarmingly.

    At least two counts against it to begin with - starting with dialog and using adverbs.

  2. Steven Brust, fantasy author, once wrote one of the most horrible opening sentences I've ever read. I almost put the book ("To Reign in Hell") down, but then he made fun of himself for doing it:

    "Snow, tenderly caught by eddying breezes, swirled and spun in to and out of bright, lustrous shapes that gleamed against the emerald-blazoned black drape of sky and sparkled there for a moment, hanging, before settling gently to the soft, green-tufted plain with all the sickly sweetness of an overwritten sentence."

  3. None come to mind, but the above two are hilarious! I'm going be on the lookout now.

  4. "It's weird but at the time I was thinking about the dawn-lit sky of a sun's first rising above the buildings, the heart of the world shining its rays of newness sideways across the land at me - an equal in the same horizon as myself, in the same brightness as myself."

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