The 69 Test: Broken Destinies

Monday, December 6, 2010

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I heard about the 69 Test from The Sharp Angle, where you look at page 69 of a novel for voice and if the story goes along with the premise. My novels: not too sure if they pass. None of them are even completed drafts yet, let alone revised much.

But here's page 69 from my contemporary fantasy, currently titled Broken Destinies. It's the most completed story I have right now thanks to NaNo. Though still just a young teen, Kaylin is the lynchpin in the current struggle between Order and Chaos because of her abilities.

Would this excerpt make you curious? Just remember it's still raw. But then so is my logline. Come to think of it, learning about the 69 test and pulling up this page helped me finally write my logline. But I think it works, more or less.

Lugh shook his head. “I’m baffled. The lab was under the influence of Chaos. I saw in her mind the person who shattered her, my old foe Balor. He loves Chaos. However, the person who grabbed Kaylin was extremely orderly. That was carefully planned. He had every move figured out, like how to keep her from calling for help, probably drugged her, which fits why she blanked so quickly. His car was nearby and ready. I’d imagine he has a specific destination in mind. Things probably arranged in advance. We should expect delays dropped in our path. I just can’t imagine anyone in my circle who would do such a thing.” He sagged in his seat. Probably felt to blame for this.

Madai understood all too well. He sat up. “Any of them Kaylin has met would have used a different method. She trusts them, so different tactics. Therefore, at most they would have reported to someone. And since all of your contacts who have been in her presence, have spent more than just a few minutes with her, I don’t think they could have hidden such intents from her.”

Lugh straightened. “You’re right. And the only people I’ve mentioned her to have met her. So we can almost safely say that my alerted contacts are above suspicion. Which brings me back to: the lab is Chaos influenced, but this man isn’t. How would he have learned of her and why would he have snatched her from our care?”

There was no answer to that.

They were following. That was Father Rafael's expectation anyway. The first phase of liberation went well. The actual snatch worked just like his plan, although he couldn’t see how she could have alerted her captors. He was sure they hadn’t been watching. And they’d taken too long to get outside if they had been. He might have had a fight on his hands if they had exited more quickly. Granted he’d been prepared for that as well, but it was a distasteful course of action.

But she hadn’t made a sound, not even a muffled yell through the rag. He’d expected yells, not the soundless fright. With no sound and no immediate visibility, how could she have signaled to anyone? Maybe they’d had cameras on the backyard. He’d looked but hadn’t found any.


Dominic de Mattos said...

Yes, I'd like to read more! I feel emotionally involved already; great work.

(Can I mention that I prefer slightly longer sentences? Just me perhaps.)

I look forward to seeing Broken Destinies on the Kindle list!


Jaleh D said...

Thanks, Dom. I still have a ton of work to do on the story, sentence structure included, but this story does have me excited. I got lucky in that my page 69 was one of the more coherent pages and referenced the primary MC, even though she wasn't doing anything.

Jai Joshi said...

I am intrigued by the story.

I did feel like there could have been more back and forth in the conversation between the characters. They each have a lot to say but they say it all in one go rather than conversing about it.

Is this third person omniscient perspective? That's how it seemed? I'm always interested in seeing how other writers deal with view point perspective.


Jaleh D said...

Yea, it is rather chunky at the moment, especially since it shows nothing of where the characters are right there. Lugh and Madai are in a car with another ally doing the driving while they try to find the guy who kidnapped their friend. Father Rafael is in another car with Kaylin with his own goals. It's not omniscient, though this story is probably the closest I've come to it. The first half of the page is actually Madai's POV, just not strongly defined yet, while the second half is Father Rafael's. The selection just caught a POV shift. I promise to make it better when I revise. :D

Donna Hole said...

It does have a distinctive voice - though I'm not sure it draws me in. There's no clear POV, which makes the short, hard sentences a little jarring.

As for keeping in voice and premise, I'd have to see the premise, or at least the back of the book blurb. (those are not always the same thing)

That 69 test doesn't sound like something I'd do to judge a book. I read the back, then then first couple paragraphs, then flip through a few pages at random to see if the story has a good enough flow. A specific page wouldn't work for as a reader; but some people know if they are going to read the book by reading the first line or two.

I give a book a lot more chance to impress me. I am curious about the abduction and who they are talking about. So the intrigue would make me want to look through it a bit more.

It seems to me you've got a good feel for your characters and a strong plot. I do get that from this short excerpt. It feels well organized and purposeful.

Good work.

Hmm, I do get carried away. So nice to make your acquaintance Jaleh :) Thank you very much for your comment on my Goober WRites post at Emily's. I totally forgot it was my day.

Keep working on this story; it has an exciting feel to it.


Jaleh D said...

Thanks for your comments and for stopping by, Donna. The plot and characters are my biggest concern right now, so I'm very happy on that note.

I might repost this segment in a few months after I get a chance to do a revision pass over the whole draft, even though this won't be page 69 anymore by then.

I don't usually read page 69 either; usually I read the back, the first page, and maybe some random page in the middle if I'm still not sure. But the test sounded like fun anyway.

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