Back in the day, (I can’t believe I used that phrase), Saturday Night Live used to do a sketch featuring Dan Akroyd, called Bad Opera, or Bad Shakespeare Plays or something like that. Akroyd played this rather snooty character, Leonard Pinth Garnell, who would review these rather poor works of art, interpreted and played by the talented cast of Saturday Night Live.
Each year, San Jose State University offers the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. “For the past 25 years, the contest out of San Jose State University has challenged writers to concoct the worst opening line of a novel.”
Jim Gleeson of Madison, WI offers up the 2007 winner with this opening:
Gerald began–but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them “permanently” meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash–to pee.
The runner-up, a Scott Palmer from Oregon, is second best with these words:
The Barents sea heaved and churned like a tortured animal in pain, the howling wind tearing packets of icy green water from the shuddering crests of the waves, atomizing it into mist that was again laid flat by the growing fury of the storm as Kevin Tucker switched off the bedside light in his Tuba City, Arizona, single-wide trailer and by the time the phone woke him at 7:38, had pretty much blown itself out with no damage.
There is much more to be found on this web page, showing “winners” in several categories.
As the aforementioned Leonard Pinth Garnell would have stated, having tossed these tomes into a waste basket, “Bad writing. Oh so bad.”