Edward George Bulwer-Lytton wrote a book in 1830 entitled Paul Clifford. It began thusly:
“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”
Snoopy kept trying to write a novel beginning with those same seven words; they’ve become famous, or infamous, or at least synonymous with bad writing. Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has run an annual contest in honor of Mr Bulwer-Lytton to find the worst opening fiction sentence. The results for the 2006 edition of the BLFC are in. Read them and weep. Or chortle even, over the raw talent exhibited by the winners.