Saturday, February 12, 2011

Most writers are always looking for ways to improve their skills. Recently, thanks to an article in Freelance Writer's Report, I came across a technique new to me. It's called the "Page 99 Test," and, according to the text, "novelist Ford Madox Ford once said you can 'open the book to page 99 and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.'" In fact, a web site,, allows an author to upload the 99th page of his/her book. Readers then comment on whether they would read the rest of the book or be inclined to purchase it.

Not only am I now reading page 99 of books in stores and libraries, but I'm definitely paying more attention to the midsection of everything I write.

Beverly Lauderdale
In Franklin's House


Kit Sloane said...

That is an interesting website. When people ask me what I think is the most difficult thing about writing, I've always answered "the middle." The middle is, of course, not the beginning, or the stunning climax (speaking as a mystery writer), but it must continue to add to the plot and move the story along while not giving away the plot, or putting the reader to sleep. Middles ARE hard! Yup, give me a good middle and you've got a good story.


Monti said...

Very interesting idea. Middles are hard.

Right now, I'm working on a sequel to Secrets by the Sea, so I went to page 99 in that book and liked what I found. Three significant entries in a diary that's an essential part of the book are posted on that page. They would make me want to read more.

I'll start looking at more page 99s from now on.

Thanks for this post, Beverly!


Holli said...

Beverly, that's particularly cool when trying to decide whether to buy a book on Amazon because on Amazon it's so easy to look at page 99 in most books, and that gives me something better than endless reviews (that often contain spoilers) to look at before I decide to buy or not to buy.

Gumbo Justice
Jambalaya Justice coming 2011

WS Gager said...

Never thought about that before but it makes perfect sense. Going to look at my work in progress/editing for what's on page 99. It makes sense that the middle is the toughest. Great post Beverly.