In the interest of adding to my formal list entitled Things I Think Are Genius, I submit the soon-to-be-launched website called page99test.com, as spotlighted in this piece from the Guardian. The website takes the recommendation once given by English novelist Ford Madox Ford that readers “open the book to page ninety-nine and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you” and puts it into practice. The development of page99test.com aims to examine this concept by challenging authors to submit the ninety-ninth page of their work for readers to assess.
The concept seems alternately fantastic and flawed. By the ninety-ninth page, most if not all of a book’s central characters and plot lines should be established. But at the same time, is one page enough of a snapshot to make the reader want to dive in, start to finish? It just might be that the ninety-ninth page of any given book happens to be the one page wherein absolutely nothing constructive occurs. Then what? Definitely something to ponder as your typing finally breaks on to page ninety-nine in Microsoft Word.