RE: Get to the point?

Subject: RE: Get to the point?
From: "Michael West" <mwest -at- oz -dot- quest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2000 13:47:04 +1100

Bruce Byfield opined:

> Getting to the point is a good idea in any modern writing. Modern
> readers don't have the patience to endure (for example), a three
> page introduction that starts with a man walking down a road, the
> way that a couple of Thomas Hardy's books do. Personally, I like
> a leisurely pace, at least in some moods, but it just doesn't
> play for many readers today.

No, no, no! Here's the one you want:

"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."
-- Richard Bulwer-Lytton, _Paul Clifford_ (1830)

Actually, that one's not as bad as it's cracked up (down?) to be.
But it continues to inspire brilliant parodies, such as this one:

"The moment he laid eyes on the lifeless body of
the nude socialite sprawled across the bathroom
floor, Detective Leary knew she had committed
suicide by grasping the cap on the tamper-proof
bottle, pushing down and twisting while she kept
her thumb firmly pressed against the spot the
arrow pointed to, until she hit the exact spot where
the tab clicks into place, allowing her to remove the
cap and swallow the entire contents of the bottle,
thus ending her life."

-- Artie Kalemeris, Fairfax, VA (1997 Winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction

For more of this wonderful nonsense, see

Michael West
Melbourne, Australia

I imagine that someday there will be a new kind
of sadomasochistic role-playing in which the
technologically adept will pay dominatrices to
treat them like newbies.
-- Dennis Cass (Harper's Magazine, July 2000)

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