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Genre - Children's Fiction
Rating - PG13
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The 99 Test. I had never heard of this before last week, so when I was asked to dissect page 99 of my novel, Souled, I couldn’t imagine why, until I read the intention behind it – to determine if page 99 of the novel was intriguing enough to keep the reader turning the page. Hmmm. I tend to judge things as a whole, so as far as my book was concerned? I had to find out for myself. So, I turned to page 99 of the print version and took a look.
Up until page 99, the MC, Seth, has been getting used to the idea of having the soul (he purchased online) hanging around inside his body and actually likes his “angel” because of the cool stuff Maksim (the “angel”) is teaching him – stopping time, feeling the energy/intentions of those around him, gaining strength – the kind of bad-ass stuff the ordinary teen doesn’t normally experience. This has all led to Seth letting down his guard, thinking, yeah, I got this one.
As cool as all of these things are, Seth found he was not really able to control these abilities, rather they were being done for him. We find that Maksim is willing to teach Seth how to manipulate the energy around him, thus drawing Seth into a sense of control.
Page 99 shows Maksim to play off of one of Seth’s biggest desires – to protect his girlfriend, Dani. Seth, Dani, her mother, along with Seth’s best friend, Justin, are at a family restaurant/bar where a man is beginning to hit on Dani’s mother, something she really doesn’t want. Here is a bit of that scene:
See how upset your woman is? You can protect her.
Letting go of Dani, I grabbed a couple of French fries and shoved them in my mouth.
Protect her, huh? How? I asked.
The guy turned all the way around on his stool to face us and leaned his elbows against the bar.
What he really needed was to be taught some manners, I thought.
Let me do it. There was a smile in Maksim’s voice. Better yet, let us do it together.
Okay, I was down with that.
We have power, he breathed. We could… persuade him to leave.
Yeah, I was definitely down with that. But how?
Maksim then shows him how, and Seth is hooked. For Seth, it’s an intense moment of painful, yet exhilarating triumph. The “angel” got Seth where he lives – keeping his girl and her mother safe. Chalk one up for Team Seth.
I wanted to show the buildup of trust between Seth and Maksim, but when the soul begins by telling Seth “You can protect her,” then tells him that “We” have the power, it was my intention to reveal the initial “elbow nudging” developing, as if the soul wasn’t going to give Seth all the power after all.
So… if Maksim isn’t willing to give Seth the control, what exactly was the purpose of his co-habitating with Seth? That was what I had hoped the readers would ask and would want to turn not just page 99, but all of them.