If you recall Snoopy's line: "It was a dark and stormy night..." was actually borrowed from Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel "Paul Clifford", and according to the wiki represents "the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction writing,".

But take heart, there's actually a contest where people compete to write the most melodramatic opening phrase. This year's winner:

Even from the hall, the overpowering stench told me the dingy caramel glow in his office would be from a ten-thousand-cigarette layer of nicotine baked on a naked bulb hanging from a frayed wire in the center of a likely cracked and water-stained ceiling, but I was broke, he was cheap, and I had to find her.

William "Barry" Brockett, Tallahassee, FL

You can read more great entries here: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/