Writing a Story That Has a Domino Effect

Domino is a game of skill that involves building a chain of dominoes that ends with the player’s tiles showing on both sides. The tiles are arranged in a row on the table so that one side shows the number 1 and the other side shows the numbers 2 through 12. The game is traditionally played with double-nine dominoes, although other sets are also used. The game can be played alone or with a partner, and the winner is the player whose remaining tiles have the lowest number of total points.

The game of domino can teach the importance of planning and follow-through. In the same way, when writing a story, it is important to think about how your scenes will fall in sequence. Your readers will appreciate a smooth sequence of events, where each scene builds on the previous, culminating in a satisfying climax. In other words, your story should have a domino effect.

A domino is a small rectangular piece of wood with a number of pips on one end, which are arranged in a straight or curved line. The pips can be painted or left natural. Traditional dominoes are made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony. Other materials include marble, granite, soapstone, brass, pewter, ceramic clay, or glass. The most elaborate dominoes are made of high-quality materials and display fine craftsmanship, including carvings and inlay work.

Lily Hevesh, an amateur craftsman and domino artist with more than two million YouTube subscribers, started collecting the small plastic-and-wood pieces at age 9. She loved setting them up in a straight or curved line, flicking the first one, and watching the rest fall. She went on to create mind-blowing domino setups for movies, TV shows, and even a Katy Perry album launch.

Hevesh says the key to her successful creations is paying attention to the laws of physics. For example, she makes test versions of each section of an installation before moving on to the larger 3-D pieces. She films these tests in slow motion, which allows her to make precise corrections if something doesn’t work.

She has also learned to respect the power of gravity when creating her impressive creations. As each domino is knocked over, gravity pulls it toward Earth and sends it crashing into the next domino, causing it to tip over in turn. This chain reaction continues until all the dominoes have fallen.

In a story, this domino effect can be used to build tension and excitement. It can also be used to ensure that the logical impact of one scene is clear enough to propel the story forward. For example, if your character’s actions in one scene are not clearly linked to the conflict or tension of the next scene, your readers might be confused and lose interest. Whether you are a pantster who writes a manuscript from the start without an outline or a plotter who uses a software program like Scrivener to help you plan out your novel, understanding the story domino effect can ensure that your scenes flow smoothly and efficiently into your final, polished masterpiece.