Order In the Plex Now

Andrew, Allie and Ping Pong Balls

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

There are nine chapters in The Perfect Thing, each one designed to stand alone. The glaring exception is the first chapter, “Perfect,” which does duty as an introduction. So that chapter begins every book.

theshuffle.jpgI recruited my son Andrew and my niece Allie (the book is dedicated to those teenagers) to participate in a shuffle ceremony to mix the other chapters. I took eight ping pong balls and wrote the name of a different chaper on each ball. Then I put them in a bag. Andrew and Allie took turns picking balls out of the bag and writing down the order of that shuffle on a posterboard. We did a total of twelve shuffles. Then, since Simon & Schuster had determined that we would do four versions of the book, I picked the four that seemed best. I did have a couple of other principles: I didn’t want the “Podcast” chapter to come before the “Download:” chapter since the former discusses the iTunes store that is described in detail in the latter. I also didn’t want the “Origin” chapter to come last, though really how horrible would that be? When I write articles I sometimes hold off something that came early until late in the story. But I wanted to make sure that even though each book had an element of randomness built in, it would be a good reading experience.

Obviously, we did four different tables of contents. And four different indexes.

So, which shuffle do you have? In future posts I’ll list the shuffles and welcome comments from readers on you feel about this.

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