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Friday, September 9, 2011

Page Ninety-Nine Test

I have to be in the right mood. And I can't be judging any other writing contests because helpful-feedback-overload makes me want to stab every page that's not mine with a nail scissors. But sometimes when I've earned a guilty pleasure and I've seen all the My So-Called Life reruns a thousand times and thought about my own Jordan Catalano a thousand more I give myself over to the temptation that is page99test.

This website grew out of the quote by English poet and novelist Ford Madox Ford, "Open the book to page 99 and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you." Writers upload page 99 from their manuscripts and readers with user names give feedback ranging from the generic Yes, I'd read more of this to a comment box where thoughtful feedback is welcome. Browsers can select their favorite genre, or like me, choose to read every genre of fiction available.

Why is page99test my newest addiction? Though I've never actually browsed for a book in a brick and mortar using this technique, its merits are undeniable. Page 99 is random. Page 99 is near the first turning point in most novels. Mediocrity cannot hide on page 99. Page 99 is the best slice of truth about an author's ability. How many times have I judged openings of novels that had been polished ad nauseum, but lacked the rawness and fire of an untainted voice? I love that I can sample, like a literary truffle, give feedback or not and move on. I love that my user name icon keeps track of how many times I've given feedback and the number creeps higher. And, though many writer-spaces on the web invite harsh words from mental giants who believe their journey to publication includes stomping on all other prospective authors on the path before them, I haven't found that to be true of this site. In that once space of time I allow myself, I hold out hope that I'll find an author's voice that I cannot resist-that gold nugget in the pan of muddied river water that all editors and agents secretly yearn for.

After a short, short login (I know, I know...one more to remember, right?) you're on your way. It isn't a site just for writers who wish to offer critique. With simple voting buttons regarding how likely you are to want to read more or buy it in a store, it's a site catered to all readers. Do let me know what you think of it. You'll know me there by my user name-guaranteed. Maybe you'll even discover page 99 of a Time Thriller there.

Have a super weekend, everyone!

4 comments:

the walking man said...

Sounds like a way to kill a couple of hours for me but from now on I am going to go 98...100 in every page count if I ever write anything that long. Fortunately I stop at 80 pages with the chap books which for their "genre" are exceeding long.

Now to go find that time travel thriller over there.

Charles Gramlich said...

Intersting concept. I would probably enjoy exploring something like this but right now I don't have the time. some day!

Sherry Isaac said...

Definitely going to check this out, and post my 99. Need to point out your own words, and wisdom, to you in this here post:

"...stomping on all other prospective authors on the path before them..."

Um, yeah. That happens. Consider the source. Don't let it get you down.

L.A. Mitchell said...

@WM...who knew you were so superstitious?

@Charles...it *does* eat up some of the day

@Sherry...point taken. Hard to listen to your own advice sometimes :) Hugs