Tuesday, 22 January 2013

It was a dark and stormy night ...

I expect many of you have read that famous opening line before, but do you know who wrote it? How about the novel's title? Maybe you've read it. If you'd like to you can download it for free here.

'It was a dark and stormy night' is often quoted as an example of a really bad opening line. Personally I don't think it's so bad. We can all come up with worse, can't we?

How about, 'All of a sudden, right out of the blue a really amazing thing happened.' or 'Fred woke up wondering where he was, what he was doing there and how the hell he was going to escape this time.'

Want your own life story turned into a book without having to even write the first line? I very much don't, but if it appeals to you, take a look here.

45 comments:

  1. Patsy, I downloaded Paul Clifford earlier today, just curious really about the context of that much-derided opening line. As I read on through the first few pages, however, I became fascinated. Looks like a happy find, this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't actually started reading it yet, Rob but I intend to give it more of a chance than those first few words.

      Delete
  2. I'm with you on this one, I don't think it's too bad either and apparently he wrote lots of books and made loads of cash so must have been doing something right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He came up with several other memorable phrases apparently. I believe 'the pen is mightier than the sword' was one of his.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Oh dear, have I added another to your huge TBR pile?

      Delete
  4. It wasn't a bad line when it was first written!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It probably seems worse than it is now, because most of us have heard it before.

      Delete
  5. I agree, how bad can it be when it's remembered forever? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. In my ignorance I thought you were talking about the book 'It Was A Dark and Stormy Night' by Janet and Alan Ahlberg, which I used to read to my daughter as a bedtime story many years ago!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've not come across that one, Wendy. Is it good?

      Delete
    2. Yes she loved it(we both did) - it's a very amusing children's book.

      Delete
  7. The Fred one is definitely worse :D Thanks for the laugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That took me seconds of my valuable time to write, Samantha!

      Delete
  8. The original and the best purple prose! LOL!!!

    Thanks for the links Patsy!!

    Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  9. I should have know it was not Snoopy. I am going to take a look at this book--free download.

    Thanks Kid!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe Snoopy's version was 'an homage' to the earlier one, Rambling Guy.

      Delete
  10. I think the author's last name starts with a B, and it might be one of those three word names, Like Lyndon Bulger-Merrit or something. Hm... But he definitely wrote rather cliched and purple prose.
    Thanks for all the info and the links. :-)
    (You made me so curious I have to look up the guy's name now.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're thinking of the right chap, Lexa. Just click on the link to find his real name.

      Delete
  11. I agree, it's not a completely terrible first line.It sets the scene and the tone quite nicely.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree, Patsy, there are far worse opening lines :-)x

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think if it really was a dark and stormy night, then that is a very sensible opening. Like others, I've never seen the problem.

    It would be interesting to know how other writers choose their opening lines. How about you, Patsy...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't like too much build up before the story gets going, so try to go for something which immediately sets the scene and introduces some kind of action.

      To me, 'dark and stormy' seems preferable to three pages of meteorological details.

      Delete
  14. It's not a terrible first line - just overused. Which makes it cliched and therefore frowned upon as bad writing. It's all a matter of opinion anyway...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Almost everything is better the first time we see or hear it, isn't it?

      Delete
  15. Agree with the consensus above, not a bad first line and remembered to date. How many authors can claim that? Not sure about having my life story written, I write fiction for a reason...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Patsy .. I had no idea about the background to the title .. or much about the back history at all .. so if I had my Kindle up and running, which I haven't yet - I'd have downloaded it ... perhaps anon ..

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get that kindle going, Hilary. I'm sure you'll enjoy using it once you get started.

      Delete
  17. For more years than I care to admit I thought "It was a dark and stormy night" was the beginning of my Dad's shaggy dog story/joke.
    "It was a dark and stormy night. Two robbers sat in a cave. One said to the other, 'Tell me a story,' So he started; 'It was a dark and stormy night, two robbers sat in a cave.....'
    I've only recently learned my mistake!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We used to play a different version. Instead of two robbers we had three men sat around a camp fire. If you're actually sat around a camp fire and have been drinking cider it's quite funny.

      Delete
  18. I want to know what happens to Eddie! And I don't think that opening line is so bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rosemary, as soon as he awoke properly he realised the whole thing had been a dream!

      Delete
  19. The Snoopy book, Dark and Stormy Night is one of my most favorites. I laugh each time I read it. Love it.

    Happy Writing :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. My hubby is devastated that I didn't manage to work that line into my novel :) I agree, it doesn't seem so awful.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for commenting!