The page 69 test

The Page 69 test is a fascinating idea by Marshal Zeringue. Is page 69 representative of the rest of the book? Would a reader skimming that page be inclined to read on?

I took the Page 69 test for The Pericles Commission.  By sheer luck, it happens to contain one of the book's central conflicts.

10 comments:

Philangelus said...

It's funny you should mention this. Today on one of my writing groups, they're discussing first pages, and I said that I never read the first page to tell whether I like the writing. I flip randomly to the middle to see whether I like the writing there, once the writer is off his best behavior. ;-)

I'll have to check my manuscript and see what page 69 looks like. :-)

Gary Corby said...

It's an interesting idea, isn't it?

Slightly luck of the draw though. One page left or right might give a very different result.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I won't do this for my current draft- first drafts are pretty much garbage.

But...

I just did it for the final version of Hatshepsut and it worked up quite nicely- nailed two of the book's conflicts.

Fun!

L. T. Host said...

This is like book numerology or horoscopes. I'm a little concerned that if I start doing this I will wind up with some sort of weird obsession with getting the 69th page to be dynamic and fulfilling while driving the reader forward to the detriment of pages 68 and 70.

*brain explodes*

I'm okay. Just checking page 69 of every MS I've written.

Loretta Ross said...

54as0☺

Okay, That first line was the result of my cat walking across the keyboard. I don't know what he's trying to say (or how he did a smiley face!) but there it is.

Anyway, just checked page 69 and it's a completely random scene with the male lead pulling one of the supporting characters out of a restaurant by her belt loops as she explains to a couple of complete strangers that only doting parents think pictures of filthy children are attractive.

No main plot at all. Hmm.

Loretta Ross said...

Ha! HOWEVER . . . if I do as the cat (Foggy) suggested and use page 54 as 0, that makes page 124 page 69 and THAT page is where all the protagonists meet for the first time.

Have I got a smart cat or what? *G* Okay, I'll hush and go away now. ;)

Gary Corby said...

Hi Loretta, clearly you need to get your moggy involved in plotting.

The 69 test might work better if you're allowed to pull the page of your choice from a range of 10.

Gary Corby said...

Stephanie, there's no point in doing this on anything other than a completed MS! And even then, I think a range makes more sense since at LT points out, you can be unlucky.

Gary Corby said...

I think the idea, LT, is that every page should have something special on it. Otherwise, why is the page there?

L. T. Host said...

Oh I agree. That's my general approach to my MS, anyway. Still, I will be thinking about this now. And that's not always a bad thing, me thinking... :)