Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” as Want to Read:
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night (Dark and Stormy Night (Bulwer-Lytton Contest))

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  146 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
The fourth collection of hilarious selections taken from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for the best of bad fiction. The world-famous competition seeks to find the most atrocious opening sentence to a hypothetical lousy novel. Here are entries from the past three years, plus Rice's advice on how to write in the Bulwer-Lytton mode.
Paperback, 143 pages
Published December 4th 1984 by Penguin Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo IshiguroEverything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'ConnorAre You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy BlumeWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward AlbeeRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
Titlemania III: Whole-Sentence Titles
484th out of 791 books — 95 voters
Heart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Prince of Darkness by Jean PlaidyThe Perfect Storm by Sebastian JungerPeople of Darkness by Tony HillermanThe Dark Wind by Tony Hillerman
It Was A Dark & Stormy Night
26th out of 111 books — 10 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 290)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sara Lou
Jan 12, 2008 Sara Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute corker of a book. I have literally been rolling about laughing at some of the 'openings' this books contains.

The books premise started out as a competition. To compile 'The Very Worst Opening Lines in Fiction'.

Everyday people were asked to write in, their own ideas, of the worst opening lines to novels they could think up. The book is a compilation of those lines/paragraphs.

The idea was produced by a college professor and proved to be very successful and highly amusing.

The great th
...more
Fishface
Feb 06, 2016 Fishface rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, satire
Winners of the international contest to see who can write the most contorted, wordy, hard-to-follow, yet grammatical first sentence of a non-existent novel, in the style of Dickens's old friend. Bulwer-Lytton would be so proud. Or maybe not.
Sue Roth
Jan 02, 2016 Sue Roth rated it really liked it
A bacchanal of badly-baked banalities; artistically atrocious in its awesomeness.
Kaethe
Jul 08, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
For an excellent real-life application, read the opening sentence to The Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City.
Charlotte
Jan 06, 2008 Charlotte rated it really liked it
This book is a hoot. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is an annual competition created by professors in the San Jose State English Department. The objective is to write the worst opening sentence to the worst possible novel. The contest is named for Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, the Victorian novelist best-known for beginning a book with the immortal line, "It was a dark and stormy night..." This book is a collection of the best entries from the 1984 contest, divided into categories such as Scie ...more
Heather
Oct 22, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: goofballs, people who like absurdity.
Recommended to Heather by: my 2-day stint at a used bookstore
I have this under "currently reading", but it should really be categorized under "perpetually reading".
This is something to keep by the bedside for when you have had an absolute bear of a day. It really is true what they say- laughter is the best medicine ;)
I think that if you take yourself (and literature) too seriously, then you probably shouldn't read this compilation of ridiculum. But if you are someone who appreciates "bad" movies as good, or enjoy watching MST3K, then surely this will be a
...more
Robert Beveridge
Scott Rice, ed., It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Best of the Bulwer-Lytton Contest (Penguin, 1984)

It seems like a can't-miss idea, right? Publish the thousand or so best of the myriad entries the Bulwer-Lytton contest got in 1984. And, really, there's a lot of funny stuff here. But two hundred pages' worth does get old. Definitely a bathroon-read kind of book. It does divulge such brilliant bits as "a crowded elevator smells different to a midget," though, so it's worth your time. ** 1/2
James
Feb 20, 2008 James rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially writers
Anyone can write ordinary bad prose, but it takes a special kind of person to write the worst of all; this book collects a whole bunch of it. For anyone who's been jolted to a dead stop by some gross error or unusually clumsy chunk of English and been tempted to put that book or magazine down or write a venomous letter to the publisher, this will make you laugh and pester your friends by reading them excerpts.
Charlie
Mar 30, 2011 Charlie rated it really liked it
Found a copy of this at my dad's girlfriend's house, and we had a very enjoyable, giggly evening reading the best (worst?) of the various entries. A lot of fun.
David
Feb 13, 2010 David rated it liked it
Shelves: own, read-in-2010
Interesting read. Some of these sentences were amazingly awful (which was the point). I forgot how dirty peoples' minds were in the eighties.
Courtney
Mar 29, 2013 Courtney rated it really liked it
They aren't all spectacular entries, but reading them out loud in a dramatic, sweeping, theatrical kind of way was a night well spent.
Peacegal
Dec 14, 2010 Peacegal rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
It’s a shame that these books are no longer in print. They really are gems that will be enjoyed by anyone who loves literature and humor.
Heather
Oct 06, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it
Recommended to Heather by: mike d
true excellence. not every 'sentence' was a winner, but what a great ride. it's been a while since a book made me giggle so much.
Sue
Apr 16, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it
This was a fun and quick read. Its a contest held for the worst opening line to a novel--and there are some bad ones.
Melody
Apr 16, 2008 Melody rated it really liked it
I loved this book, even though it made me seek out Bulwer-Lytton himself. Much to my combined amusement and dismay.
Melissa Clark
Jan 12, 2011 Melissa Clark rated it liked it
This would have been a better bathroom book. It got a little boring after a while.
Jim
Jan 02, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it
The skill needed to put these 'openings' together is impressive.
Kaija
Jan 19, 2013 Kaija rated it it was amazing
Both a collection of cautionary tales and a show of written genius.
Lael
Mar 18, 2007 Lael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Bad writing can be sooo good – these books are hilarious.
Xanthi
Sep 18, 2013 Xanthi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read for the bibliophile.
Brett
Apr 14, 2008 Brett rated it really liked it
Fiction,Humor,Anthology
Paul
Paul rated it it was amazing
Aug 27, 2016
Yan
Yan marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2016
Meaghan
Meaghan marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2016
David James
David James rated it really liked it
Jul 15, 2016
Erin
Erin marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2016
Barbara
Barbara marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2016
Heather
Heather marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2016
Lynn Burdeshaw
Lynn Burdeshaw marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2016
Hope Secret
Hope Secret marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Bride of Anguished English: A Bonanza of Bloopers, Blunders, Botches, and Boo-Boos
  • Life's Little Annoyances: True Tales of People Who Just Can't Take It Anymore
  • Thereby Hangs a Tale
  • How to Insult, Abuse & Insinuate in Classical Latin
  • Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students
  • Hammer & Tickle: A History Of Communism Told Through Communist Jokes
  • Ranting Again
  • The Deer on a Bicycle: Excursions Into the Writing of Humor
  • The Book of Heroic Failures: The Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain
  • Why We Read What We Read: A Delightfully Opinionated Journey Through Bestselling Books
  • The Darwin Awards Countdown to Extinction
  • Last Chapter and Worse
  • How to Rule the World: A Handbook for the Aspiring Dictator
  • Bizarre Books
  • More Letters from a Nut
  • Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You
  • Port Out, Starboard Home
  • Chicken Poop for the Soul: Stories to Harden the Heart and Dampen the Spirit

Other Books in the Series

Dark and Stormy Night (Bulwer-Lytton Contest) (5 books)
  • Bride of Dark and Stormy
  • Son of It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Final Conflict: Yet More of the Best (?) from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest
  • Dark and Stormy Rides Again: The Best (?) from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Share This Book