It Was A Dark And Stormy Night; A Writing Taboo

“‘It was a dark and stormy night’ is an often-mocked and parodied phrase[1] written by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton in the opening sentence of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford.[2] The phrase is considered to represent ‘the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction writing,’[1] also known as purple prose.'”~ Wikipedia

Did you know starting a story with the weather is a ‘writing taboo’?

“What?!” you say. “No more ‘the sky was full of snow’ and ‘the rain fell in impenetrable sheets’?”

That’s right. Or so some would have you believe. And I say some, because, in true keeping with the writing world, no one has the same opinion; they even contradict themselves in the same paragraph. But it is a taboo. Make no mistake about it. And I would know. I asked a higher being (i.e Google).

“The reader is apt to leaf ahead look­ing for people.” ~ Elmore Leonard


“If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book ‘Arctic Dreams’, you can do all the weather reporting you want.” ~  Elmore Leonard

So really, if you’ve got any sort of imaginative vocabulary at all… ignore this post.

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night; A Writing Taboo

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