Page 99, the most important page of your book?

Filed under: Fun — marcia at 6:12 pm on Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Want some advice from Ford Madox Ford on how to tell if your novel (or any novel, really) is any good? “Open the book to page 99 and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you,” he said. It may sound arbitrary. But if you think about it, page 99 is far enough in that you should have already established your characters and setting … so whatever is on that page is representative of the tone and heart of the book. It would be in full swing by that point but not far enough along to be mired in who did what or how this ties to that. (Although you could chose page 87 or 102 for the same purpose.)
A new site called Page 99 Test is taking that advice seriously and will soon allow people to upload page 99 of their novels for criticism from internet people.

via Guardian UK

What David Foster Wallace Read

Filed under: The Writing Life — joy at 10:16 am on Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The archive of David Foster Wallace is now open at the Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas at Austin. From the press release:

The collection is made up of 34 boxes and is divided into three main sections: works, personal and career-related materials and copies of works by Don DeLillo. The works section covers the period between 1984 and 2006 and includes material related to Wallace’s novels, short stories, essays and magazine articles.

Among the things you can view online, there’s a handwritten page of a draft of Infinite Jest, a sampling of Wallace’s teaching material, and most interesting to me, an inventory of the books from Wallace’s personal library. You can scroll through and get an idea of what he liked to read. There is a lot of Don DeLillo, for example, and a lot of psychology books.

Jacqueline Muñoz, the librarian at the Ransom Center who cataloged the 300-some books says, “Of the more than 300 titles in his collection, there are maybe 10 or 15 that are not annotated—not simply with underlined passages but ample and personally revealing margin notes.”

Looking through the list of books, I wrote down 12 titles I would like to read. Not because I want to be like Wallace, or something, but because they look like rad books. You should check it out. (Via HTMLGiant)

Come See Ken Read

Filed under: WP Publications — joy at 7:05 am on Wednesday, September 8, 2010

word pirates ken weaver

Newest Word Pirate Ken Weaver is reading at the Why There Are Words reading series this Thursday at in Sausalito. It’s at 7 p.m. at Studio 333. The theme is Body Language.

Go Ken!