Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Page 99 Challenge

The page ninety-nine test is supposed to tell a reader if a book is worth reading or not. I think it's a bit random, but it's an interesting method. A while back I did the 99 test on my fantasy work in progress, Twelve Keys. However, I hadn't written enough to present you with page 99, so, I did the next best thing. I gave you page forty-two.

I now have about 156 pages written. Today I can show you my current page 99. I'm sure it'll change, with revising and all that.

Without further ado, here is 99- of Twelve Keys

"If we had a winged engine, we could cross the eastern mountains. We would see if the land was normal on the other side," Poppy prattled. "Rick? Rick, are you listening?"
He'd halted at a bend in the path to look down into a gully. "You can't cross the mountains."
"But we'd have a flying--"
"Even on the back of a giant polka-dotted eagle."
"Is there such a bird?"
"No." Below, Rick saw three little kids playing in a creek. They were covered from head to foot in mud and green muck. But what interested him was that the creek had a wide, low concrete weir built across it--from the Modern times. He wondered what else in the vicinity might still be standing.
He felt Poppy slip from Currito's back, and watched her step to the edge and look down.
"Rick, look. Children. Let's go talk to them."
The water level was low and the creek wasn't flowing. On one side of the weir the creek was little more than thick mud and some trampled vegetation. On the other, it was a scum-covered pool. Rick could already smell the stagnant stink.
"Naw. We'll move on."
One of the kids mounted the weir and waved. "Climb down."
Poppy looked up at Rick. "Check the watch."

 ***Lnks to image sources embedded in images themselves.


Shelley Sly said...

That's a neat test. Your excerpt is interesting, which is a good sign.

I wonder if the page 99 challenge applies to middle grade novels too, since the word count is significantly lower.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks, Shelley. :)

Hmm, I'd think that for a middle grade novel, you'd just pick a page somewhere just before the middle of the book. But that's just a hunch.

AnthonyJRapino said...

I've never heard of that one, pretty interesting. And your page 99 proved to be an effective teaser. :-)

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks Tony! :)

Yeah, I stumbled upon the page 99 thing a while back. There's a web site where writers submit their page 99. I haven't done that, though.

Kara Hartz said...

Good page 99! I totally want to read more. There's a mysterious, almost ominous vibe in this excerpt. What's up with the watch? What about the bridge and the time stuff? So much I want to know from this!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks, Kara! :)

Yeah, the 99 thing sure plops you right there "in medias res."

Which means, I think if a book had *too* many things happening on the page (or too many characters) it might overwhelm instead of exciting them.

Lydia Kang said...

I love the name Poppy. :)
I really liked your excerpt!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks, Lydia! :)

Shelley HW said...

I'm going to be aware of page 99 from now on, in fact, I think I'm around that point with a story I'm reading right now, and it is at a great point!

Great excerpt. And I agree, Poppy is a great character name.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks, Shelley! :)

Joylene said...

What a super idea, and your page 99 is lovely. I like the sense of place and the dialogue between the two. I want more.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks Joylene. Wow, you help make me want to finish writing it! :)

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