I read a really cool blog post the other day that talked about a writing exercise where you compose a paragraph that begins with, “It was a dark and stormy night.” The author of the blog had actually gone on to write a dark and stormy (but nonetheless very good) short story from it, but I decided to stick to the paragraph.
I have to say that I found it a most enlightening experience. In the fifteen minutes or so it took me to write this, I came up with a bizarre scenario and have no idea where it came from. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise and shall look for more such things in the future, being as I am completely self-taught in the writing department – apart from my english teachers at school that is. It was also liberating to use so many exclamation marks in such a short space: Normally, I can’t stand the over-use of this powerful piece of punctuation, but I felt that it worked here.
So anyway. Here’s what I came up with..
It was a dark and stormy night. Which was odd, because it had been a dark and stormy night when I went to bed. And it was still a dark and stormy night at… what time was it anyway? Oh dear. It was nine-thirty in the morning. Where was the sun? Where were the cars, the streetlamps, the people? Come to think of it, where was Mrs Peabody who should’ve been sitting on her porch sipping tea and watching the world slip by. Where were the twins who should’ve been scooting along on their way to school? Why was there no sun? What had happened? Oh no. What was this? What did it mean? Judgement day? Catastrophic climate change? An alien invasion? I knew it. You see? I bloody well knew it. I told them in the dayroom only last week that the end of the world is nigh and they laughed at me. Ha ha! Now I bet they’re laughing on the other side of their faces! This is it. We are all going to die. I told you, but you wouldn’t listen! I told you! I told you! I told y… Hey. Hold on. Who are you? Why are you in my room? Let go of me. Ow! That hurts, take that thing out of my arm… Actually. Don’t. That’s quite nice. I think… I’ll go back… to bed now. Ah look: What a lovely bright and sunny morning…
Does it work, or is it just a little odd? Of course, odd can be good sometimes. If anyone knows of any other short writing exercise like this, I love to hear about them.
Thanks for reading.
Photo courtesy of Issy Mey