• Micro Fiction Challenge: Dark & Stormy

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 151 comments
    Sep
    14

    Discussion questions: In fifty (50) words or fewer, write a scene or story that includes the phrase “a dark and stormy night.” Write or paste your story into the comments. The winner will get a free book, courtesy of WriteByNight.

     

    As much as I love Snoopy, he wasn’t the first writer to begin a story with “It was a dark and stormy night.” That honor, as far as we know, belongs to Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a writer who today is known mostly for an annual contest in his name that rewards the worst opening line of an imaginary novel.

    I like the idea of writing something intentionally bad. But I also like the idea of turning a ridiculous cliche into something of quality. So let’s do that, in this month’s Micro Fiction Challenge.

     

    What Is This Contest and How Do I Enter?

    In fifty (50) words or fewer, write a story or scene that includes (but doesn’t have to begin with) the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night.”

    Enter as many times as you wish.

    Write or paste your response in the comments section below.

    Get your entries in by the end of Friday, September 20.

    Our favorite story will earn its writer a book from the WBN library; I’ll throw out some options, you choose the one that most intrigues you.

     

    You’ll Choose a Winner Based on What, Exactly?

    Effort. Humor. Mood. Whimsy!

    I’ll also take the number of thumbs-ups into account. So if you really like someone else’s story, be a sport and click on the thumb.

    Good luck! Have fun!

     

    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2019 writing project that you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

     

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    Julie Farin
    Guest
    Julie Farin

    The doorbell rang. It was a dark and stormy night. Who could be visiting at this late hour? I wasn’t expecting anyone. I pulled back the curtain to peak at the strange shadowy figure, who was holding something in his hands. I reluctantly opened the door. Suddenly, a bouquet of flowers was forced upon me.

    Michael Goins
    Guest
    Michael Goins

    It was on a dark and story night they stopped. Shoving the duffel in, I slammed the door.
    She stared at my Army nametag.
    “Garcia?”
    “Yeah.
    “You don’t look Mexican with red hair and them freckles.”
    I knew right then I should of killed the white boy.

    Catherine Margolin
    Guest
    Catherine Margolin

    Their eyes met across a crowded room. Suddenly everything around him disappeared except her, and the sun shone brighter for him. She saw him as a diamond in the rough. As they came together, she saw a rather large wart at the end of his nose. The music stopped, the sun disappeared behind a cloud. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s not going to work, really. Please don’t blame yourself…it’s me, not you.” She turned and walked away. The night became dark and stormy. As he watched her substantial buttocks retreat, he thought, “Time heals all wounds, I guess. Maybe the… Read more »

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    Title suggestion…”Cut To the Chase – A Modern Romance”

    Alternate title suggestion…”Substantial Buttocks Retreat”

    Susan
    Guest
    Susan

    LMFBO.

    Mary Alice Higgs
    Guest
    Mary Alice Higgs

    Good just check your word count :-)

    Catherine Margolin
    Guest
    Catherine Margolin

    I know…went way over. I’m finding this is a great exercise in tightening up the prose.

    Mary Alice Higgs
    Guest
    Mary Alice Higgs

    :-) —It really does make one think. Very nice exercise!

    Catherine Margolin
    Guest
    Catherine Margolin

    Same entry, but I brought it to about 50 words:

    Their eyes met across a crowded room. Everything disappeared except her. As they came together, she saw a wart on his nose. The music stopped. Silence. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s not going to work…it’s me, not you.” She walked away. The night became dark and stormy. He watched her substantial buttocks retreat.

    frances hill
    Guest
    frances hill

    It was a dark and stormy night, not the weather report, but the atmosphere in the winnebago shared by Tubbs and his ‘mail-order’ bride. She threw everything that wasn’t bolted down at his head or crotch. No telling what foul curses she was uttering in Russian. It was his night to die.

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    That’s what Tubbs gets for Russian into things…

    frances hill
    Guest
    frances hill

    hahaha I like the pun!

    Doris
    Guest
    Doris

    Bridezilla

    Catherine Margolin
    Guest
    Catherine Margolin

    They were named Dark and Stormy. Dark was the perfect name for her—she was moody, filled with an indeterminate ennui. Stormy danced circles around Dark, trying to get her to play with him. Finally he raced off to find a different playmate. The sound of hoofbeats faded into the distance.

    Wayne Ewen
    Guest
    Wayne Ewen

    Charlie awoke to a muffled, banging sound. Picking up his revolver, he crept to the front door. A figure was on the porch. He turned on the light. It was his Grandmother, not some potential burglar. She was soaking wet because it was a dark and stormy night.

    stephen Glick
    Guest

    just like Jason .Kill her !

    Bob McCarthy
    Guest
    Bob McCarthy

    My mother and father met when she worked at a bookbindery across from Dad’s house. On their first date they doubled with his brother Donald and girl friend. They went to a drive-in theater, but missed the show. It was a dark and stormy night

    frances hill
    Guest
    frances hill

    And they never noticed the management turned off the screen.

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    And years later my father changed his name to Bob Seger and wrote a song called Night Moves…

    Wayne Ewen
    Guest
    Wayne Ewen

    The tent flap wrenching repeatedly awakened him. His flashlight battery was almost dead. It was a dark and stormy night. “Curse you, Charlie Brown!” he thought. Snoopy’s scout troop was on it’s very first camping trip and it was not going very well at all

    Wayne Ewen
    Guest
    Wayne Ewen

    “Go or no Go?” It was tense on the launch pad. The astronauts were in the capsule poised for their trip to the moon. However, it was a dark and stormy night. Word came from Mission Control, “Scrub it!!” “We’re never going to get there this way,” said an astronaut!”

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    It was a dark and stormy night. He stood at the edge and thought of jumping. The memory of her voice, her touch, her humor, her laughter at Rod Serling’s wierdly-sized head…his tears fell. Then…he jumped…onto the pogo stick and bounced over to meet his date.

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    It was a dark and stormy night. Carlyle and Merkin poured out the acid and lit cigars. The rain would do the rest. “Goodbye, Portnoy”, Merkin chortled. Carlyle whirled on him, “You idiot! That’s the wrong Phillip Roth novel!” Merkin’s lack of culture had tripped them up again…

    Denise White
    Guest
    Denise White

    Leaving Chesterfield on a dark and stormy night seemed fitting, since my time here has been filled with dark and dreary days. Sunshine warms my skin and fills the dark corners of my soul as I look in the rear view mirror I read, you are now leaving Chesterfield.

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning flashed, revealing the purple plastic pentagon in the dirt where Dutch Schultz and Lulu Rosencrantz had buried it. Carlyle smiled at Merkin, who gri need back. Anachronistic smuggling using time travel was the best thing they’d ever come up with.

    Denise White
    Guest
    Denise White

    It was a dark and stormy night.
    Tick, tick, tick, my mind has taken flight.
    Off to where I dare not know.
    Try to follow, you dare not go.
    Flowers blooming, rain is falling,
    In the distance a car is stalling.
    On a plane, I’ve taken flight.
    It all started on a dark and stormy night.

    Catherine Margolin
    Guest
    Catherine Margolin

    Hey, unfair! It’s supposed to be a bad writing contest, and this is actually good…

    Denise White
    Guest
    Denise White

    Thanks!

    Susan
    Editor
    Susan

    Hi Denise,
    I admire anyone who can throw together a nicely complete verse on such short notice, rhythm and rhymes and all. You should write song lyrics.

    David M Inverso
    Guest
    David M Inverso

    Snoopy couldn’t see, as it was a dark and stormy night, but he caught the sour-apple scent of Lucy and the leather of her football. Off to torment Charlie, again. He growled. He caught up his typewriter, and skulking unseen in the darkness, set it down. She tripped. He snickered.

    Garrett Fflagg
    Guest

    It was, well, a dark, um, stormy night and the only light came from the fireplace. We were on our last log. The light in the living room flickered, dimmed. Embers. Why call it that–living? We’ve been waiting, playing rummy, drunk, dead drunk. Shadows: We feast on memory.

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    “We feast on memory”. Love that.

    Catherine
    Guest
    Catherine

    I’d always dreamt of writing a book.
    One night I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea.
    Next morning I told my husband “I’m going to write a mystery”
    He said, “Let me guess, the first line will be: It was a dark and stormy night.”

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    “It was a dark and stormy night”, Carlyle grimaced at the words and ripped the page from the typer. He shook his head. Only the most cliched opening line in the history of literature. He stubbed out his cigar on the sleeping Merkin’s face. Writing was hard. So was go-karting.

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    It was a dark and stormy night. Bedminster Faron III quizzically bounced the purple plastic pentagon in his left hand. Suddenly, a Sopwith Camel appeared. “Curse you, Bed Faron!”, yelled Carlyle the pilot, as co-pilot Merkin dropped brown M&Ms left over from an 80s Van Halen concert.

    david lemke
    Guest
    david lemke

    Clair’s turn. She began with as deep a voice as she could muster. “It was a dark and stormy night…” Lois, the only other girl at the campfire giggled.
    Buddy said, “oh Christ.”
    Ralph broke in, “Let her tell her story!”
    Clair stopped, fled into the darkness. It was waiting…

    Gary Bingham
    Guest
    Gary Bingham

    It was a dark and stormy night.
    Yet the moon and stars were bright.
    Sleep proving elusive; I held her close, a futile attempt to ward off dark terrors that occupied her nights.
    “Will this suffering never end?” I petitioned the dark.
    “Depression is my friend,” murmured an unsympathetic night.
     

    Aaron Infante-Levy
    Guest
    Aaron Infante-Levy

    I squinted against sprays of saltwater leaping the motorboat’s bow. Marcine white-knuckled the railing. Her son’s journal lay open against the plexiglass, pictures of him gunning down classmates with an assault rifle, and ominous words: “It will be a dark and stormy night.” God willing, we’d reach him before…

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    Wow. Gut-punch

    Elissa Malcohn
    Guest
    Elissa Malcohn

    It was a dark and stormy night inside the snow globe, going bump bump bump down the hardwood stairs and onto the oblivious Roomba, which bucked it off in a dainty kitchen pirouette, waking the puppy and precipitating that unfortunate incident with the fishbowl and an apocalypse of Legos.

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    Fiction is writing to build a world…

    Catherine Margolin
    Guest
    Catherine Margolin

    I like “apocalypse of Legos.

    Susan
    Guest
    Susan

    Mom began story night with her classic line. “Barking morning fight? Like me and Grandma?” “Pops, your hearing aid?” “What?” Mom continued. “The moon rose full…” “Noon Rosebowl?” “Never mind,” Mom said. “Gramps doesn’t believe in ghosts anyway.” “Not goats. Cows.” “With darkly thorny hides” I offered. Scary. DISCLAIMER: I am not making fun of old people, like me, although I work with them and they say the funniest things when they mishear something. I’ve noticed they miss the consonants and get the vowels. The above line about goats and cows was actually uttered (not uddered,Kevin) by my Dad and… Read more »

    Catherine Margolin
    Guest
    Catherine Margolin

    No need for a disclaimer! I love to make fun of people and since I’m old (my parents even older) everyone is fair game. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    It was a darkly thorny hide…and Dwayne came falling down…Embarrassed, he unwrapped the black leather jacket from around his ankles and read “Razorbacks MC” in blood-red letters.
    “Hogs on Hogs?”, he wondered.
    “Frogs on logs?”, asked Murderella, his wife. Years of working as roadies for Dented Skull had affected their hearing.

    Susan
    Editor
    Susan

    Oooh Razorbacks–in a band? Who are they? Now I think we may be going somewhere. If I changed cows to pigs, then we could have a story where Grandpa is more terrified than the people who hear the story correctly because he thinks it’s about wild boars with thorny hides. Tell me, is dented head the name of an actual band?

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    Hey Susan, I agree with David. The way you write around the words, forcing the reader to fill in the blanks…like “Ariel” by Sylvia Plath where you can see and feel the horse galloping without it being specified.

    snowglobe
    Guest

    Sucking his thumb, he listened as his parents shouted to one another outside his door.
    “Did you close his windows?”
    “On it. Did you bring his tricycle in from the porch?”
    “Going now.”
    It was a dark and stormy night, but little Caleb dropped off to sleep; safe and adored.

    Kathy Jackson Smith
    Guest
    Kathy Jackson Smith

    It was a dark and stormy night when the body of Elijah Weatherby washed up on the bank of the Tallahatchie River. The body would’ve gone unnoticed had it not been for the unfortunate timing of Agnes Wooten, who’d picked that particular location for his late evening frog gigging expedition.

    Kathy Jackson Smith
    Guest
    Kathy Jackson Smith

    It was a dark and stormy night when two men were about to fight. “Who are you?” asked Cecil. “None ya,” replied Doc who wanted nothing more than to be left alone. The bartender shoved another drink in Cecil’s general direction. The bartender chuckled to himself, “If they only knew.”

    Carmen
    Guest

    It was a dark and stormy night. Already apprehensive about the morbid task he was to undertake, Carl stepped through the door of his brownstone as he pulled up the collar of his coat. This weather did nothing to alleviate his unease as the cold cut through to his bones.

    Camille Stuart
    Guest

    I labored with you for 24 hours. The cloudless August sky dissolved into a dark and stormy night, with not so much as a beam of moonlight to brighten your coming. A bolt of lightning split me down the middle when your cry thundered through the house.

    Mary Alice Higgs
    Guest
    Mary Alice Higgs

    Amontillado wine causing one to behave badly by burying a body behind bricks and mortar; swinging pendulum; murders in the Rue Morgue; eyes that tell tales of a cold, delusional heart; and schizophrenics who are seized and strangled by their sister. Poe thrills best on a dark and stormy night.

    Margaret Ross
    Guest
    Margaret Ross

    Tori looked at the smear on her silk blouse. Wendy’s pomegranate salad dressing. She should’ve skipped lunch. Now she was headed to a reception for the very meticulous Governor. It was a dark and stormy night, so she hoped he wouldn’t notice. Issues of state aren’t always evaluated on merit.

    Margaret Ross
    Guest
    Margaret Ross

    “It WAS a dark and stormy night,” he insisted.
    “You doofus, you proposed at an outdoor concert in Destin,” she said.
    “Well, maybe it stormed later that night,” he said with a question in his voice.
    “No, we walked the beach until sunrise.”
    “I’m in trouble, aren’t I?”
    “Ya think?”

    Cyrena Shows
    Guest

    A light pulsed beyond the drizzle. It was a dark and stormy night for the Fourth of July. The sparks flew, but they went unnoticed, colors and flames wasted. Bravery was celebrated by only a few who saw beyond the purple clouds and gray smoke. The rest looked away.

    Bob May
    Guest

    Vagrants in bad neighborhoods know little about fine bourbon. It was a dark and stormy night when he guzzled the last drop from the bottle he’d snatched from a new pickup. “Stolen,” he imagined while breaking into a building. He lit a cigarette. A sign read “3 Finger Freddy’s Firewor…

    William Hill
    Guest

    The sun was setting and the clouds rolled in as Mrs. Night looked at her twin daughters. When ask there names, she was still groggy from child birth and instead of, “They are. . .” ,she said, “It was a Dark and Stormy Night.”

    Mary Alice Higgs
    Guest
    Mary Alice Higgs

    On dark and stormy nights
    There is little to be seen
    From torrents of rain
    Diminishing light from moon beams
    Thunder booms and lightning pops
    Many are anxious with fright
    But I lay my head down and dream peacefully
    On dark and stormy nights

    Doris
    Guest
    Doris

    It was a dark and stormy night. After soaping my washcloth I looked up into the bathroom mirror. Besides my own reflection, I saw HIM standing in the tub behind me. A scream started from my throat. I turned and slapped him in the eyes with the hot,soapy washcloth.

    Elissa Malcohn
    Guest
    Elissa Malcohn

    I took your hand on a dark and stormy night and pocketed it. No zombie had ever given me such a touching present. I’m sorry our love went south. I’m sorry I flushed your fingers down the toilet in a fit of pique, one by one by one.

    Jeaniene Bonner-Davis
    Guest

    How beautiful, walking through the canopy of trees providing shade on my farm, miles away you could see. I imagined hearing symphonies through swaying winds of harmonies. Yellow, red, and orange melodies ringed, if only leaves could sing. Thunder rang suddenly, awaking me from a dream. It was a dark and stormy night.

    Mary Alice Higgs
    Guest
    Mary Alice Higgs

    Arm hairs standing erect, icy sweat drenching my brow, and my throat tightly constricting, I stood frozen in fear- staring at him as I horrifically remembered that dark and stormy night when his long fingers, which once lovingly caressed me, murderously clenched and tightened like a vise around my neck.

    Denise White
    Guest
    Denise White

    Blah blah blah, is all I hear as I stare out at the dark and stormy night. When I look in the direction of Bob’s voice I hear in it’s place, and the winning numbers are 3-6-8. My lucky numbers, the numbers I didn’t play tonight because I didn’t want to brave the storm.

    Jeaniene Bonner-Davis
    Guest

    It was a dark and stormy night, for miles I could see lightenings fright. Peace from within stilled my plight. The rain beat against my windows, and the pounding of the shutters against the house, was evidence of an intense fight. Electricity diminished but the moon gave light which to my delight made the darkness alright.

    willie carr
    Guest
    willie carr

    “Looks like it might never stop.” Legion stared out the windshield.
    “It was a dark and stormy night,” Gino wisecracked.
    “Yeah.” Legion lit a smoke.
    “Roll down the window.” Gino waved the smoke away.
    “Dark and stormy, remember?”
    The dark gray Acura was the one they were watching.

    willie carr
    Guest
    willie carr

    They sat in the lot outside BigBoys alongside an old Ford banger, a rice-burner, and a spray-painted Chevy. You know, the kind of shit-rides that took all a kid’s money just to keep alive. The storm above them raged. It was a dark and stormy night.

    Doris
    Guest
    Doris

    BigBoy’s Restaurant?? I hung out in a few of them back in the day.

    Diane Novak
    Guest
    Diane Novak

    It was a dark and stormy night. I didn’t care, as I lay in my out-of-the-elements bed. It was a bright calm morning. I didn’t care because there were hundreds of refugees from last night’s storm on the lawns and rooftops until they flew away. And I did care.

    Diane Novak
    Guest
    Diane Novak

    It was a dark and stormy night. I didn’t care. I lay in my out-of-the-elements bed. It was a bright calm morning. I didn’t care. There were hundreds of refugees from last night’s storm on the lawns and rooftops. Then they flew away. Did I care?
    ( Inspired by you all, I just HAD to edit my entry!!! ;-)

    Jacques de Chabannes
    Guest
    Jacques de Chabannes

    The hanged man song says:
    “It was a dark and stormy night
    “When your justice killed me
    “I swing and swivel, at the wind pleasure,
    “I visited your wife, in your bedchamber
    “Received her love, from you no mercy,
    To swing and swivel, by my side, I shall have you”

    Mary Alice Higgs
    Guest
    Mary Alice Higgs

    “Sit down, Tucker! Ella, please stop singing!” Sighing heavily, I continued, “You all need to listen. You can’t focus if you’re chattering nonsensically.” Thunder boomed and lightning cracked. My eyes popping open, I jumped out of bed awakening on this dark and stormy night from my nightmare of 3rd graders.

    stephen Glick
    Guest

    Captain James William Petty glared into the dark and stormy night. The bow on his ship “express” would disappear into the Small snow storm turned blizzard. On the great Superior. When it is said she never gives up her dead. If the good ship could put twelve miles behind her.

    KevinW
    Member
    KevinW

    The Captain wired in, he had water coming in…

    Beti Spangel
    Guest

    “It was a dark and stormy night,” wrote Trevor on his loose leaf. His pencil paused in mid thought. Miss Grady glanced over his shoulder. “Cliché,” she hissed, snatching the paper and crumpling it in her claw like hands. Trevor watched her walk away. The storm had just started brewing.

    Mary Alice Higgs
    Guest
    Mary Alice Higgs

    Gigantic asteroidal chunks gouged the Earth, exploding like bombs- setting off earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches, and forest and grass fires- devastating the landscape. Many dark and stormy days and nights prevailed- the darkest end of night and time for the dinosaurs who stormed the Earth no more.

    Melanie Atkins
    Guest

    It was a dark and stormy night. Rain peppered onto the crumpled car. Thunder boomed. Clayton shook off the pain in his chest, batted at the air bag, and climbed out. The other driver lay motionless in the road. Relieved, Clayton popped the trunk and checked his passenger. Still dead.

    Doris
    Guest
    Doris

    A cold wind began to howl on a dark and stormy night . Something colder than rain began to pelt him like stones, the branches became coated with ice. The wind took his cries and flung then away unheard. The tree that had been his challenge, now became the cat’s nightmare.

    Beti Spangel
    Guest

    Ohhhh, I like that! (We have a cat who loves getting herself stuck in trees.)

    Doris
    Guest
    Doris

    thank you Beti




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