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It was a dark and stormy night…


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Many stories start this way, but any idea of the history of this phrase and why it’s frowned upon?

"It was a dark and stormy night" is an often-mocked and parodied phrase by comics and authors alike.

Why? Because it is cliché and unoriginal.

Writer's Digest described this sentence as "the literary poster child for bad story starters."

Its status as a catchphrase for bad writing comes from the opening sentence of Bulwer-Lytton's 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.

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Our list of clichés is exhaustive and you may be surprised at what lurks in your own writing.

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