I love bad writing – when it’s written intentionally. “It was a dark and stormy night” has become the quintessential bad writing icon of all time. I’ve always wondered what was so awful about that phrase, until I read the rest of the sentence online tonight. Here is the sentence in its entirety: “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.” Written by Edward Bulewer-Lytton from his novel Paul Clifford, the sentence fails on so many levels, (run-on anyone?), and is hysterical in its self-importance. AWESOME.
I believe intentional bad writing is easily as difficult as good writing. I’m certainly no expert at either, but I do like my fun. To that end, I want to have my own mini bad writing seminar. This won’t be at all interesting unless you contribute as well. So help a girl out.
Here are my rules: First, misspelling is only allowed if it is a commonly misspelled word, such as “receive” or “grateful.” Otherwise, the structure would be a tangled mess. Second, real words must be used. No making up Vulcan phrases. Third, punctuation is a free-for-all. I see no problem with throwing in random punctuation for humor’s sake.
The actual national bad writing contest requires one sentence only. There have been some great entries. Ann Cannon does a bad writing contest every year in the Deseret News. I LOVE this issue of her column. Here is a favorite:
“Somehow Earl knew she’d come back, even as he watched her lumber up the hill and away from his lovesick arms, for he knew women like he knew seedless watermelons, and he knew that in both cases, the best ones always rolled downhill; actually, he knew that all watermelons rolled downhill, even the ones with seeds, and women only rolled downhill if you pushed them, but other than that, Earl knew women and watermelons very well indeed.” — John Nichols
Oh my goodness. I love that. LOVE. For my exercise, I’m going to allow multiple sentences, because I think they can be just as funny. And I’m all about the funny.
Here is my entry:
It was a dark and stormy night. Most nights are dark. But not all nights are stormy. Because in terms of weather, storms come and storms go. Which is what made this particular night different from other just regular nights. Though some nights seem darker than others. But this night was just a normal “dark” night. Yet the storm interrupted a normally dark night. On this night. Making this night far more menacing than the normal “dark” night. So, as you can see, this is a significant factor in our story. Because the night was dark. And stormy.