Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Page 99 Test



Ford Madox Ford famously said, “Open the book to page ninety-nine, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.”

Now there's a website devoted to it. As a writer, you can upload published or unpublished page 99s of your work. Or as a reader you can go read the page 99s and vote/comment. You don't get to see who wrote it until after you vote. It's a lot of fun.


Here's what I posted from my romance entitled Kiss Me, I'm Irish.


“There's a park nearby,” Tinker said. “Let's go sit on a bench and chillax before going back to our stuffy motel room.”
Liam glanced down at Emily and thought that might be a good idea.
Emily kept her face averted as they walked the short distanced to a playground loaded with screaming kids. He noticed her occasionally wiping her eyes and felt his anger return. Was this just an act to make him feel like a monster? Damn, he needed a cigarette. Maybe nicotine would help him think straight if common sense didn't.
Tinker headed for the nearest tree and plopped onto the grass in front of it. Leaning against the trunk, she closed her eyes. Liam lowered himself onto a rickety picnic table as Emily did the same on the other side. She kept her gaze fastened on the children playing on the equipment. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a pack of smokes.
“Don't even think about it,” Tinker said with her eyes still closed. “I heard that telltale crinkle. Think of the children.”
Liam ground his teeth as he shoved the pack back into his pocket. “You know I'm getting tired of always being told what to do by women.”
There's the L.J. we know and love,” she said.
Emily flashed a look at him but remained silent. Despite his frustration, he wanted to reach out to her. When she'd been in his arms, he noticed his qualms had eased somewhat. But now, watching the breeze lift strands of her hair, he struggled to reconcile the picture of a young woman exhibiting fragility in contrast with her illogical refusal to stand on a particular piece of cement. If she wasn't a stalker fan—and she hadn't tried to get into his pants yet—she had to be mental. But that didn't make sense either. The explanation that fit the best was her time-travel story. And yet that just wasn't possible. Liam turned to Tinker. “Are you done yet?”
“God, Liam, it's been five minutes. I swear, you're allergic to nature.”
“We have plans. I'm just saying we stick to the schedule.”
Tinker snorted.
“I appreciate your offer to let me stay,” Emily said in a low voice, “but you have no obligation to me.”
He clenched his jaw, remembering his gushing offer to keep her near. It must've been because she cried. How could he say no to a weeping female? And when he'd held her, he'd gone all mushy and protective. Maybe she was a stalker, but one who enjoyed the game more than the prize. And yeah, he was such a prize. Liam deflated and wished he had the guts to smoke a damn cigarette.

Thoughts? Advice? Would you turn the page?

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