"Tt was a dark and stormy night." This opening line in Bulwer Lytton's "The Last Days of Pompeii," is considered a literary joke. For years the sentence has been used as an example of how not to open a novel. Today one must start in the middle of the action. Hook the reader, expecially the younger reader. No more scene painting. Description is to be used like salt or vinegar. Sparingly. I'm not so sure I agree with this. Wouldn't a good opening paragraph with time, place, weather, scenery, be beneficial to the reader? Guess not. Like a TV viewer surfing channels for an eyecatching flick, the young reader wants the first line to pull him in. "Lights, camera, action" works best. So I've been examining my manuscript for the eyecatcher. Apparently it is not a teenage farm girl in front of a hot stove. Guess I have to trot out the dead body a little earlier.