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The Best Worst Opening Lines

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English writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton is best remembered for the first line of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford (Bookshop|Amazon). The novel opens with “It was a dark and stormy night …” followed by many twists and turns in a long, single sentence. This notoriously florid example of writing inspired the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which since 1982 has invited contestants to come up with their own opening sentences that are similarly so bad they’re funny. This is part of a complete episode.

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