It Wasn’t a Dark and Stormy Night

Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton

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Never, ever start a book with It was a dark and stormy night“.

Why?” you ask.

Because that was already used.By  Edward Bulwer-Lytton in the novel “Paul Clifford“.

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.

See what I mean? Don’t do “It was a light and sunny day” either, because

  1. It is almost like “It was a dark and stormy night”.
  2. It sounds stupid.

Don’t do: “It was a ______ and ________ ______”

Here’s my list of beginnings:

  • The rain was pouring hard when <your character’s name here> arrived home.
  • <name> breathed hard in the darkness as s/he ran through the cave, the torches appearing as streaks of light as s/he ran by.
  • “<name>!” called <name>’s broth/sister as s/he froze in mid-action.
  • “Ouch!” <name> cried, clutching his/her foot in pain.


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