Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest , a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The contest is named after the Victorian novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose line “It was a dark and stormy night . . . ” was made famous by the novelist-beagle Snoopy in the cartoon Peanuts.

This year’s winner, Molly Ringle of Seattle, WA, beat out the competition with this cringe-inducing entry:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss—a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.

That’s bad, but I think we can do worse. Add your entry for the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels in the comments section.

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