For years, Charlie Brown’s dog, Snoopy, worked on a novel, which always began, “It
was a dark and stormy night.” I wonder if he ever finished it.
The real credit for the phrase goes to author Edward Bulwer-Lytton:
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.
I always wanted to write a story like that, but when I tried, it never came out scary enough. It lacked an element that is necessary to horror stories that my writing skills just didn’t have; a horrific and dark imagination.
I once heard that Stephen King used his nightmares to form his ghoulish tales, and he really must have had some good ones.
King knows how to tell a story. His novels, “It” and “The Stand,” “Cujo,” among others, teetered on the edge of “believable,” and they set the imagination of the reader free to think about infinite possibilities. (They also scared the you-know-what out of me.)
There’s definitely something to be said about a good horror story. If done right, it can affect a person for a long time.
King teamed up with Peter Straub, author of “Ghost Story,” to write “The Talisman,” one of my all-time favorite novels. The tale is about a young boy who can travel between this world and a parallel universe. He has to go from the east to the west coast in search of a talisman, so he can save his mother from dying, and the world from evil at the same time. I highly recommend it.
I haven’t had much time to get into any of King’s newer books lately. They’re all so long, it’s hard to make that committment. But I think I’d still rather read them, than write them. For now, anyway.