Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Toni Jordan lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she is a freelance copywriter.

applied the Page 69 Test to her debut novel, Addition, and reported the following:
The publisher’s gorgeous design for Addition makes this page 69 test easy--it’s the first page of chapter 6 and has just a little paragraph:

I sleep in a single bed because I have a horror of the vast expanse of doubles. Before my sister’s wedding we stayed, each bridesmaid in her own room, in a five-star hotel filled with gamblers

Over the page, (the page 70 test?), the paragraph goes on to say how the main character, Grace, feels comfortable in her own single bed. ‘I know its width and length in hand spans and kicks and there is no spot so far from my body that it cannot feel the heat of my blood.’

It's hardly long enough to be representative of anything, but I like this section for a number of reasons: firstly, I feel it’s quite unlike me and, I think, exactly how Grace would feel. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from knowing a made-up person so well that you feel confident in how she would sleep. Grace counts things, so I thought she would feel uncomfortable in too big a space because she would have trouble with unknown quantities. Her single bed causes some difficulties when she meets and falls for Seamus, but love always finds a way.

Secondly, I quite like the rhythm of this bit, when you read it out loud. It’s not Richard Ford (my all-time perfect rhythm hero) I know, but I’m quite happy with it.

And finally, I like this bit because I wrote it in a creative writing class I was taking at the time I wrote Addition. The more fiction I write, the stingier I become; these days I can’t bear to waste anything. Can a failed novel beginning be recycled as a short story? Can a terrific line of dialogue overheard on the train be expanded for a new character? Some might call it abject laziness; I prefer diligent economy.
Browse inside Addition and visit Toni Jordan's website.

Writers Read: Toni Jordan.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue