The Domino Effect in Writing and Playing Dominoes

Dominoes are plastic or clay tiles that are normally twice as long as they are wide. They are often stacked end to end in long lines and when one is tipped over, it causes the adjacent dominoes to fall. Each domino has an identifying pattern of dots on one side and is blank or white on the other. Each face of a domino is marked with an arrangement of spots, or pips, that range from six to zero. A domino with a higher number of pips has a greater rank or weight than a lower one.

Lily Hevesh started collecting dominoes when she was 9 years old and has since become a professional domino artist, assembling elaborate setups for movies, TV shows, and even an album launch for Katy Perry. She is also a popular YouTuber, with over 2 million subscribers, where she shares her tips and tricks for domino creations.

When playing domino, each player takes a turn placing a domino on the table edge to edge with another domino so that both matching ends touch each other. The resulting chain is known as a “domino line.” Usually, the chains develop into snake-line shapes due to the limitations of the playing surface and the players’ whims. A player may only play a domino that has the same value as the previous tile or one with a higher value.

A Domino Effect

The concept of domino is not a new one, but it is still applicable today, especially when it comes to business and leadership. In fact, the name Domino’s comes from a Latin word meaning “falling one after another.” This is a perfect metaphor for the domino effect, which occurs when an initial action causes a sequence of subsequent events that lead to greater and more dramatic consequences.

The Domino Effect in Writing

When you read a book, you are experiencing the domino effect as well. The way the story unfolds depends on the order in which you encounter each scene. Whether you are a plotter who follows an outline or a pantser who writes off the cuff, the order in which you set your scenes has a great impact on how the story progresses.

In order to create a satisfying reading experience, the ratio of high-action scenes to softer moments of reflection and inner processing needs to be controlled. When the ratio becomes too great, the story stalls and loses reader interest.

To achieve a balanced plot, consider arranging your scenes like the domino effect. This strategy will ensure that the action you’ve written builds upon the scene that precedes it. This is especially important if you are writing a narrative with a clear beginning, middle, and end. In this type of narrative, each scene should be like the first domino that falls, setting the stage for the conclusion. This approach will make your ending much more compelling for your readers. Creating your plot in this manner will also allow you to identify and weed out scenes that don’t have enough logical impact on the one ahead of them.