Tuesday Tidbits: Bad Opening Lines

Leon Stevens
3 min readFeb 1, 2022

Yesterday’s Open Book Blog Hop reminded me of a post that I wrote. After scouring my blog, without success, I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t posted it. So, here it is:

Bad Opening Lines

I’ve always heard that the worst opening line for a book was: “It was a dark and stormy night.” I don’t know if someone made it up or it’s from an actual book. Bad writing was also featured in the movie, Throw Mama from the Train, where Billy Crystal writes: “The night was moist.”

It’s hard to write bad on purpose, but here is my attempt at the Top Ten Worst Opening Lines:

10. My feet were itchy, and I don’t know why.
9. He took a shot, and then another, and then another.
8. Three pigs, a cow, four chickens, and a sack full of potatoes. That’s not going to be nearly enough, he thought to himself.
7. The wind whistled. She whistled. She heard a whistle coming from the house next door. I think it was Mrs. Wilson.
6. “Meow,” said the cat. “What did you say?” asked its owner. “Meow,” repeated the cat. “Oh. I thought that’s what you meant,” the owner replied.
5. It was really dark. It was really quiet. He walked really quickly because he was really scared of the night. Really.
4. Staring at the keyboard was not a way to inspire confidence, thought Infinite Monkey #299387647724
3. Running with scissors was not as complicated as it was made out to be. The difficulty was avoiding all the other marathoners.
2. I travelled back in time to stop myself from travelling back in time. It didn’t work. Obviously.
1. “Are you asleep?” she asked. “Yes. Are you?” he answered. “Yes,” she replied. Now that the pleasantries were out of the way, they could return to the task at hand: churning all that butter.


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

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Originally published at http://linesbyleon.com on February 1, 2022.



Leon Stevens

Leon Stevens is a writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. www.linesbyleon.com