Some Very Poor Opening Passages In Literature

Kids, don't write these at home! The “embedded-clauses-are-all-the-rage” opening: “He, even though the sex change was far from final, so in fact he was still she, albeit anatomically it was difficult to spot the difference, woke, or would have, but his eyelids felt like they had been glued shut with the kind of glue that smells bad and tastes even worse, and since he had no desire to wake up either, he soon went back to sleep, effectively ending his day before it even started, up.”

The “visual-auditory-hedges-make-this-post-modernist” opening: “The bells (ding) were chiming (ding, dong) with the passion (ding, dong) that only a (ding, dong) freshly trained bell ringer (ding, dong) can achieve (ding, dong), and they also (ding, dong) screwed the author’s (ding, dong) train of thought (ding, dong), punctuating the (ding, dong) opening passage (ding, dong) of this book to (ding, dong) a point of ludicrousness (dong).”

The “frame-within-a-frame-within-a-frame-within-a-frame-within-a-frame-story” opening: “Harry Adams, a misunderstood author, sat at his desk in the middle of the night and started writing about Jonah Humphrey, another misunderstood writer, who was sitting in his library, writing about Elizabeth Jukowski, a brilliant author, who was sitting in her mid-18th century garden, writing about Harriet Jackson, a master wood smith, who was carving a statue of Jebediah Thomas, caught in a rather questionable pose that involved violating a sheep with a Maglite.“

The “patriotic-use-of-long-words-and-American-symbolism-will-surely-make-this-a-Hollywood-hit-once-it’s-filmed” opening: “Sergeant Merle Haversham stood up in the trench and started singing the Star-Spangled Banner, so furiously proud of being an American fighting in the European battlefields, sealing off another breach in the stronghold of Western Democracy and continuing the work of the Founding Fathers in their fight for liberty, that through his tear-stained, patriotic eyes he failed to see the mortar shell that consequently ripped his head clean off his true-to-his-word, pure-Virginian-blood, God-bless-America body.”

The “needlessly-graphic-metaphors-and-similes-equal-true-art” opening: “He moved slowly, like a snail squelching its body forward on a road freshly coated with new asphalt. Every breath he drew sounded as ragged as a piece of paper stuck between the blades of a ventilator. He eyed the full glasses of beer in front of him with the same lust a child molester would eye little 8-year-old Tim sitting in the sand box outside the kindergarten. The pain in his groin had worsened, and now it felt like he was being serviced a blowjob by a plunger full of broken shards of glass in the hands of a plumber determined to unclog the drain, with the first signs of a looming burnout encouraging him to pound harder and harder.” [tags]literature, opening, passage[/tags]

Academic writing and originality

Horoscopes for December 10, 2007