It was a dark and stormy night…

There’s something really pretty about storms. I like seeing the angry lightning and I love hearing the roaring thunder. I love the way it builds up, especially in summer. When the days have been hot and humid and when the evening becomes too dark, too soon. I love how the air turns grey and the atmosphere turns yellow and how eventually with the first strikes of careful thunder the raining begins. Softer at first, but more confident with every drop splashing in the grass or on the stones.

There’s something really pretty about storms, how the weather just rages and shakes off the heat of the day. Like nature has had quite enough of the sun perpetrating its merciless rays into the earth. Nature sheds and sheds, until it can’t shed no more. Until it’s time for a new beginning after the storm.

There’s something really pretty about storms and I know I’m not the only one who thinks so. Ever heard of one of writers’ biggest mistakes of using “It was a dark and stormy night” as their pieces entrée? Here’s another one of those lovely Need-to-Know-but-not-that-Useful-Facts. Happy Weekend!

It was a dark and stormy night” is an infamous phrase written by Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton at the beginning of his 1830 novel “Paul Clifford”. The annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest uses the phrase as a signifier ofpurple prose. The original opening sentence of Paul Clifford is an example:

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.

It is also the start of the 1902 novel The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs. Its opening sentence is:

It was a dark and stormy night. The wind howled and twigs and leaves scuffled and rattled past the house. Mr and Mrs White sat in the parlour of their cosy home, in front of a blazing fire. Mr White played chess with his only son, Herbert. His wife sat in a rocking chair knitting and watching as they played.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest was formed to “celebrate” the worst extremes in this style. The contest, sponsored by the English Department of San Jose State University, recognizes the worst examples of “dark and stormy night” writing.


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