terrible story openers


We asked our members to write the worst possible opening for a story. Here are their responses.


"I'm not like other girls, I'm so goofy and clumsy," Kartynia thought as she swept copper-coloured hair from her violet eyes, her breasts heaving as she turned a backflip ninja cartwheel and unsheathed her katana while landing like Legolas but if he was a sixteen year old girl, "and I'll never really learn how to be a *proper* vampire like Mariariarianne is."

Thanks to Peter McLean. Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PeteMC666


438.5 seconds exactly, to one decimal point. They were very precise about such numbers, ever since the ‘no decimal point incident’ of 1999. Fisticuffs broke out over that one. Well, it would have if they’d had hands. The worms took the 1 metre dash very seriously.

Thanks to PS Livingstone. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ps_livingstone


"I'm sooooo ugly," she thought as she stared in the mirror at the auburn-haired, green-eyed seventeen-year-old face before her, minutes after she woke up from a traumatic but ultimately insignificant dream which will probably be revisited in a flashback at some point.

Thanks to Jade Bailey. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/flailey


Truly, it was a dark and stormy night.

Thanks to Phil Williams. Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fantasticphil


Grumdziljk the Third, Grand Majistral of the jaradh’dr, glanced at the klimdit on his wrist, a relic from the Helarian war’s. “Your late” he said sneerily to the semi-proto-humanoid who had dared to call him while he was in the middle of cleaning his fizzledizzle.

Thanks to Marianne Ratcliffe. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MazRatcliffe


Once upon a time he decided to become a writer. "It's easy!" people told him. "A doddle!" said others. "It's just putting words down on paper, what could be easier?" said his friends.

Later, much later, as the authorities led him away, strapped up, drooling and pointing at the imaginary creatures flapping around his head, that memory was the last thing to fade in his addled mind.

Thanks to Phil Parker. Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhilSpeculates


So there was this thing, like big and dark as dark as you can get.. really dark, like black dark dark.. and round too really round like a really round ball.. and dark!!!! “It’s a dark black round circle!!” He SHOUTED!!!!

Thanks to Richard D Andrews. Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RDAndrewsAuthor


If you're interested, here's some advice about what kind of openings are considered bad by the professionals. Thanks to Writers Digest for these five:

  1. It's never a good idea to open with a dream. Or, for that matter, to reveal at the end of the story that the whole thing had been a dream. (We learned that lesson in the US soap, Dallas, when Bobby Ewing stepped out of the shower, didn't we?)

  2. Waking up to an alarm clock. (It suggests we're going to get every detail of the protagonist's morning schedule!)

  3. Being unintentionally funny. (Get an editor! You might not see the glaring error that will have readers rolling around on the floor.)

  4. Too little dialogue. (Agents and editors will tell you of the importance of white space on an opening page. Dense text kills!)

  5. Opening with dialogue. (Who's speaking? We won't know until you tell us and even then, will we care?)

Do you want to read some absolute howlers? Since 2001 the Lyttle Lytton Contest identifies the worst opening lines of novels. Click this link to read some truly astounding examples, not just from novels but also newspapers, scripts and even a Star Trek screenplay!

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