Musing: The Random Flip Ahead Test


Flipping ahead has it’s merits.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from blogging short stories, it is the importance of preserving the illusion that any one group of words (normal people call them chapters) should maintain the illusion of being self-contained.

I say illusion because the flow of story must be maintained and the tale needs to stay on track.  I am to make everything entertaining enough to stand the random flip to test.  This works with everything by the way, just not novels.

In the same way you should be able to read book two of a series without reading the first, I believe you should be able to enjoy any chapter in a novel without reading the one before and after it.   There will be issues with context, sure, but when I do this test on something I always want it to have the same effect.   It should make me feel like I missed something and spark a desire to start from page one.

Conversely, chapter one should make me not only want to go to chapter two but start forming theories in my head around the story’s long term potential.   These three factors work in tandem and make for great hooks.

Give the test a try and you might be surprised by the results.


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