Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Page 69 Test

Marshall McLuhan, the guru of The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), recommends that the browser turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book. I applied the Page 69 test to my novel, and found that it works! Browse powerfully and read page 69!

                                Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge - page 69
I woke up gradually, drifting in and out of sleep, the afternoon heat on me like a heavy wool blanket. My mouth was dry and I drowsily tried to remember the last time I’d had a drink of water.“Mama,” I mumbled, wanting to ask for a glass of water. But my lips barely moved and my voice didn’t work right because my mouth and throat were so dry.
My eyelids were heavy and hard to open, but finally I was able to focus my eyes on my mama. She was standing at the screen door with her back to me. She was talking to someone standing on the other side of the screen, and as I became fully awake I saw the uniform and heard the gravelly voice, and I recognized Clyde Tucker, the chief of police.
My mother’s hand was on the screen door, as if she intended to keep the tall, pot-bellied policeman out of her house.
“Well, Clyde, she’s been right there asleep in that chair all afternoon, right there where she is now,” Mama said.
Officer Clyde Tucker leaned a little to one side so he could get a better look at me, I guess. He looked right at me, his forehead wrinkled under the bill of his policeman’s cap.
“Don’t your sister have a little boy about that same age?” he asked, leaning a little further, his fat red face right up against the screen.
“My sister’s little boy is quarantined with the whooping cough! Clyde Tucker, don’t you come around here asking questions about our children! It sounds like you’ve got plenty to keep you busy without scaring our children to death. What in the world made you come here asking questions?”