Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Page 69 Test

Earlier this week, Katy Upperman wrote about the page 69 test. On Katy's blog, she posted an excerpt from page 69 of her manuscript and explained how it revealed something about the passage's characters. I loved this idea and have taken it for my own. I've included an excerpt and explanation below.

"You can't lead with your shoulders," Josh said. "You'll lose all your momentum that way."

"How am I supposed to do it, then?" I crossed my arms over my chest and waited for an answer.

Josh looked at me for a few seconds before responding. "It'll be easier if I help." He moved around behind me. His hands hovered above my waist. "Is it okay if I guide you?" His breath was warm against the back of my neck. It sent tingles down my spine.

"I guess," I said, trying not to sound breathless.

He placed his hands on my hips, and my spine went rigid at his touch. The fabric of my shirt was thinner than I realized. I could almost feel his fingers on my skin. "You have to let go of the tension in your waist if I'm going to be able to move you."

I took a deep breath and relaxed into his grip.

"That's better," he said. I could hear the smile in his voice. If I didn't need his help to learn how to move the right way, I'd never let him touch me like that. Not until he apologized for keeping the dragons a secret.

That's what I told myself, anyway.

This passage reveals the tension between these two characters: Vic and Josh. A bit of  background: Vic and Josh used to date. Then they broke up (it was messy and had to do with this culty religious thing--long story, really). Vic's reaction to Josh serves to remind both herself and the reader that she isn't over this boy, and that she wants him back. But Josh hurt her, so she has her reservations. Still, he's a temptation for her. The way Josh moves with Vic, his hesitation to touch her, speaks to his awareness of the tension and his fear of pushing Vic too far before she's ready. The smile in Josh's voice reveals how much he still cares about her, how he wants her to be comfortable around him again.

Have you done the page 69 test? Leave a link in the comments or an example from your own WIP!


  1. Ooooh, that's really interesting! I love the tension in the scene, and then "keeping the dragons a secret." Awesome excerpt!

  2. You've done a great job with the tension. I could sense it as I was reading. Nice!

  3. Great entry! & I have come back bearing a gift: I hereby give you the Sunshine Award! Details can be found here.

    1. Thanks for passing the Sunshine Award my way!

  4. Oh my gosh -- I LOVE this! I totally felt the tension you spoke of, and I think Vic's fiestiness is awesome. And dragons! Did NOT see that coming!

    1. Ha! Thank you. Thanks for passing this idea along. It's great for making sure all of my passages are helping fill out my characters. :)

  5. This is a nice excerpt. You had me long before the mention of dragons...

    I haven't done the Page 69 test but I'm going to do it now. Well, next week.