- Created on Friday, 11 September 2015 15:54
In 1830, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton began his novel Paul Clifford with the now infamous phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night….” That would have been fine as the entire sentence. But Bulwer-Lytton drew out his opening sentence, stuffing it with so much melodramatic imagery as to create something extraordinary.
In his honor, a Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is held every year for the best worst first sentence of an imaginary novel. The 2015 winner is, in my humble opinion, sheer genius. Here it is:
Seeing how the victim’s body, or what remained of it, was wedged between the grill of the Peterbilt 389 and the 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT, Officer ‘Dirk’ Dirksen wondered why reporters always used the phrase ‘sandwiched’ to describe such a scene since there was nothing appetizing about it, but still, he thought, they might have a point because some of this would probably end up on the front of his shirt.
The author of this masterpiece is Joel Phillips, a professor of music and composition at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. Hats off to him! To learn more about the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest and see other winning entries, click here.