Really Funny Bad Starting Paragraphs of Novels

Some of the funniest deliberately bad opening paragraphs of would be novels.The Bulwer-Lytton literary parody contest is a yearly contest that seeks to find the worst deliberately terrible opening paragraphs to novels. It was named after Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), who originated the phrases “the pen is mightier than the sword,” and “pursuit of the almighty dollar.” He also opened a novel in 1830 with those now famous words that Snoopy plagiarized for years, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Here are some of the best worst bad novel beginning paragraph entries in the 2006 contest.

David loved Marisela’s voice, which was like fresh honeydew melon wrapped in fine prosciutto, and pierced with a round, teal gourmet toothpick, set on a Lenox Fruits of Life serving plate upon a mahogany table in a brilliantly sunlit (albeit in need of redecorating) dining room, but he wasn’t very fond of anything she said.

Stephen V. Masse
Medford, MA

The sun, which much resembled the yolk of a sunny-side up egg, set over the slight hill like a cheerio falling off the back of a spoon when a spoon is upside-down on a table and a cheerio is set on top of it.

Katrina Medoff
Wilmington, DE

When he heard the woman upstairs scream, the Maytag man’s heart thumped in his chest like an off-balance washer full of heavy bath towels.

Linda Shakespeare
Elk Grove, CA

Gray hung over the morning like a gauze bandage, the kind you wrap loosely over an oozing wound to keep it covered but still let air in, but the eastern sky reddened slowly, like the first signs of blood poisoning moving up an arm.

Russ Winter
Janesville, MN

Despite the vast differences it their ages, ethnicity, and religious upbringing, the sexual chemistry between Roberto and Heather was the most amazing he had ever experienced; and for the entirety of the Labor Day weekend they had sex like monkeys on espresso, not those monkeys in the zoo that fling their feces at you, but more like the monkeys in the wild that have those giant red butts, and access to an espresso machine.

Dennis Barry
Dothan, AL

Our story begins with Raul, gently stroking Priscilla’s raven hair, gazing into her coal-dark eyes, eyes that reminded him of the blackness of the inside of a size 11 1/2 D shoebox, which in turn reminded him he needed to get his Bass Weejuns re-soled before that job interview next week with the owner of the janitorial service.

Gordon Bassham
Andover, KS

Sylvia leaned seductively back in her chair and downed the shot of cheap gin that Brad had poured for her, and speculated once again that, even if it did taste like something you’d rub on a horse, it had the pleasant side effect of softening Brad’s facial symmetry which had always reminded her of the collapsed, pocked surface of a cheese quiche that’s been cooked at too high a temperature.

Janna Harris
Littlerock, CA

He loved her like no other, their romance developing quickly, like the rapid growth of farm swine which grow from 2 to 4 pounds daily until they’re fully grown and put to market for slaughter, or like the rapidly growing cells that produce moose antlers until they fall off in early spring, and suddenly Bill sensed the imminent doom of his romance lying in wait.

Jeremy Perreaux
Sarnia, Ontario

Like a baleen whale inhaling krill–a collection of small marine crustaceans of the order Euphausiacea–or an anteater sucking up Formicidae– characteristically having wings only in the males and fertile females and living in colonies that have a complex social organization–her lips sought out mine in a passionate kiss.

Michael J. Sheehan
Cedar, MI

“Send a message back to Command Central on Earth and ask for their advice, which we will be able receive immediately even at this great distance, thanks to the ingenious manipulation of coherent radiation through a Bose-Einstein condensate and the bizarre influence of the Aspect effect, which enables us to impart identical properties to remotely separated photons,” Captain Buzz told the feathered Vjorkog at the comms desk, “and tell them our life-pod is going to explode in eight seconds.”

Christopher Backeberg
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Cheralynn posed before the unblinking mirror, panting weakly, as her private surgeon hovered around her, tightening the straps on her custom-made girdle, and it dawned on her for the first time in her pampered, overindulged 49 years, that it was only a matter of time before she would succumb to Furniture Disease, and her chest would fall into her drawers.

Tracey MacDonald
Antigonish Nova Scotia

Butch glared balefully across the saloon at Tex, who had been stone dead since the scorpion he had unwittingly sat on had bitten him on the butt some half an hour or so ago, little suspecting that this was going to be his toughest staring contest since the one against old Glass-eyed Juan, during the great sand-storm of ’42, at the height of the Arizona conjunctivitis epidemic.

Geoff Blackwell
Bundaberg QLD Australia

Page topic: Really funny bad, terrible and awful beginning sentences and paragraphs to fake bad novels: A contest for which this sentence very nearly qualifies, he said, with a somber tone like that a cello makes, when it splashes into the water after being dropped into the water before it splashed.

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