Monday, April 30, 2007

The Page 69 test

Apparently this is something that has been going around the web for a while, although I just became aware of it after reading about it on Robert Sawyer's blog. The idea is that if you're interested in a book, you pick it up and read page 69, and that should tell you if it's worth reading. I tried it with my book, and found that it actually does give a lot of important details, and might just intrigue enough people to buy, here's page 69 of The Opium of the People...

Edward 4:1

“How much have things changed at the lab?” Edward asked.
His friend Bill smiled a half smile. His weathered black face showing some of the life it once had. “We’re still doing research, but it’s nothing like we used to.”
“What do you mean?”
“Edward,” his friend said glancing around, “Do you really think we should be talking about this? Didn’t you just get interrogated a couple of days ago?”
Edward waved his hand in the air. “They can’t arrest me for asking innocent questions.” Bill just looked at him. Edward laughed. “Okay, maybe they can, but I think it’s alright.”
He glanced around as well. The street was well lit and fairly crowded. It was market day, and many of the vendors had yet to pack up their belongings for the evening. People walked around in their most colorful clothes, laughing and smiling as if all was right in the world. The vendors called out the names of their goods in loud voices trying to drown out the competition. Many of the items being sold were useless in Edward’s opinion. How many different types of prayer beads could one person own? Some of the vendors brought food items in from the country. There was nothing like farm grown chickens or milk from a hand-milked cow. Edward noticed a man in a black uniform two stalls behind them, looking over some fabric. As Edward watched, the man glanced up and looked right at Edward and his friend.
“Maybe it isn’t safe.”
Bill followed Edward’s gaze. He shook his head and sighed. “They don’t hide most of their research from the public, so we can talk about that. I wouldn’t talk about the top secret stuff anyway.”


Jim Shannon said...

I read your page 69 and I like it but how does page 69 differ in ones interest in the book at page 69 as opposed to page 70 or page 68? I should post my page 69 but my page is only the rough draft of the story at 86k. Just curious J how long is your novel? 100K-80?

J Erwine said...

I would imagine that 69 was chosen for its sexual overtones.

The book is about 70,000.