dark and stormy night
The phrase “It was a dark and stormy night...” has become synonymous with bad and melodramatic writing. Cartoonist Charles Schulz of Peanuts fame had Snoopy habitually starting novels with this line. It is so clichéd that the most famous annual “bad writing” contest is named after its author, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton. The line is the opening of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford. The full quote is:
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.
(Source: Project Gutenberg)
Copyright 1997-2013, by David Wilton