In defense of 7 words: “It was a dark and stormy night, …” Agreed. Bulwer-Lytton should have stopped at “night” Rather than write 52 additional words; that were unnecessary. Style aside, he violated the 14th century philosophical principle of parsimony, Occam’s Razor: One should not go beyond what is necessary to explain anything, Agreed: He was given to florid prose. BUT, the above statments aren’t reasons for rejecting the precise and evocative, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Madeline L’Engle knew this, She used the words for the opener of her Newbery Award Winner, A Wrinkle in Time. She understood that children are closer to their memories, with all that impies, than adults. Are the 7 words part of the stuff that earns a Pulitzer or Nobel? No. Does the 7 words evoke a memory of a frightful night hidden beneath bed covers? Yes. Does the 7 words set the mood for what’s to come in A Wrinkle in Time? Yes. Let’s not blame 7 words for the sins of 52 words.