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The best page you’ve ever written (you hope)

by Stephanie

In the interest of adding to my formal list entitled Things I Think Are Genius, I submit the soon-to-be-launched website called page99test.com, as spotlighted in this piece from the Guardian. The website takes the recommendation once given by English novelist Ford Madox Ford that readers “open the book to page ninety-nine and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you” and puts it into practice. The development of page99test.com aims to examine this concept by challenging authors to submit the ninety-ninth page of their work for readers to assess.

The concept seems alternately fantastic and flawed. By the ninety-ninth page, most if not all of a book’s central characters and plot lines should be established. But at the same time, is one page enough of a snapshot to make the reader want to dive in, start to finish? It just might be that the ninety-ninth page of any given book happens to be the one page wherein absolutely nothing constructive occurs. Then what? Definitely something to ponder as your typing finally breaks on to page ninety-nine in Microsoft Word.

8 Responses to The best page you’ve ever written (you hope)

  1. Silver James says:

    Interesting concept. As I was on page 115 of edits/revisions on my current WIP, I scrolled back to page 99. Color me surprised to discover that page actually presented a rather succinct microcosm of the whole plot and main characters.

    I hope the site launches soon. I'd like to submit out of curiosity. (Yes, I will make sure my cat is safely out of the way. 😉 )

  2. Kristi Helvig says:

    I'm on page 93 of my current wip. After reading this, I'm going to be super aware when I get to page 99–not sure if that's a good thing. :)

  3. Jennifer says:

    I now feel compelled to open every book I own and read page 99. I checked my WIP and page 99 does a pretty good job of summing things up. Very strange.

  4. Tamara says:

    Didn't I see where someone recommended page 69?

    Or was it 42? (No, wait. That was the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.)

    :-)

  5. M Clement Hall says:

    I guess there should never be a page "where nothing happens" surely that fits into Elmore Leonard's "leave out the parts the reader skips"?

  6. Buffy Andrews says:

    Learn something new every day. I've never done this. But it's an interesting concept that I will need to check out once the website is live. Have a great day, Buffy

  7. Jessie Andersen says:

    Page 99 in my WIP is where some major secrets are revealed. Funny, I'll be conscious of this from now on.

  8. Em-Musing says:

    Of course you MADE me look, didn't you. :)

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