GOOD IDEA I MISSED: A QUICK TEST FOR READABILITY
When you grow up in two countries, and on top of that get STEM degrees, you miss a few things other people take for granted.
I was perusing an SFF blog I follow, Weighing a pig doesn’t fatten it (highly recommended), I came across a link to another blog, Campaign for the American Reader, (highly recommended) and the Page 69 test. Follow the link for the details, which credit the idea to Marshall McLuhan via John Sutherland’s How to read a novel.
Basically, ignore everything else – cover, blurbs, descriptions, reviews, recommendations, etc. – open the actual novel to page 69, and make your decisions based on a single sample page deep enough into the novel to be characteristic.
Being self-centered, I immediately grabbed my paperback copy of PURGATORY, and applied the test to my own work.
And was actually quite chuffed to find it works very nicely as a sample page that covers many of the threads that run through the novel!
For some reason, WordPress is telling me this post does not exist. So, just to be stubborn, I’m going to try publishing it – in which case you might see it.
If not, I’ll eventually win. Possibly it didn’t like me adding a screenshot.
Well, there it is
I think I won – must have confused something inside WordPress, but it let me publish, so I’ll add a few more words.
- Kary’s house
- A reference to the show, Night Talk, where the story starts, and the receipt of a DVD of that episode from Dana Lewiston, the host (a recurring character)
- How a main character talks to herself – she lives alone
- Why she was on a talk show in the first place: as a person with CFS
- A reference to a recent episode where an irate fan almost gained entry to Kary’s home – with intent to force her to retract something he read into one of her books
- And why Kary’s homestead now has a locked gate at the bottom of her mountain.
Hope that’s enough to intrigue, and, of course, you get a taste of my stylistic choices.
I like this Page 69 test. When I have one for NETHERWORLD, I’ll put it up, too. I hope very soon.
You are such a talented writer Alicia, and glad to know about the page 69 test, thanks.
Wish I’d known about it sooner – and thanks!
I will be using it every time I pick up a novel in the library from now on. It’s so hard to just depend on the beginning – by this deep in, the novelist will have hit a regular pace and stride. I wouldn’t have known if not for bormgans and the Weighing a pig doesn’t fatten it blog.
Thanks for the mention, appreciated!
I like it how you confess being self-centered. Nothing wrong with that. Good page 69 too!
To be a writer means allowing yourself to make the important decisions – I have so little extra bandwidth due to illness, I’ve learned to focus, be specific, not tolerate too much interference, dump impostor syndrome after all these years, and be self-centered when it is what’s necessary to get tasks done (assuming the brain is on).
It can also make me seem brash and opinionated – which is fine, as long as it’s about me, and not the work. My fiction I want judged on its merits, not mine. If that makes sense.
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makes perfect sense!