The Domino Effect in Writing

Dominoes are small, flat thumb-sized rectangular blocks, each end of which bears from one to six dots or pips. The most common domino set contains 28 such tiles, producing a number range from 0 (or blank) to double-six. The term domino is also applied to any of the many games played with such a set, as well as to the process of toppling a sequence of dominoes by stepping on or pushing against them.

There are many different ways to construct a domino, but the most important factor is that each domino has to be able to support the weight of the next one. This ensures that the chain reaction will continue to build up and move forward at a steady pace.

The same principle can be applied to constructing a story, and the idea of a domino effect in writing is a great way to think about this concept. In fiction, each scene domino represents a moment in the story that contributes to the overall progress of the plot. A scene domino is ineffective by itself, but when paired with other scenes, it can naturally influence the outcome of the story.

Like dominoes, a good story needs to have all the pieces in place for a smooth progression. This means that scenes must be properly spaced to ensure that they advance the plot or reveal something about the character. A scene domino is also ineffective if it’s too long, and the same can be said for scenes that are too short.

Plotting a novel often comes down to one question: What happens next? The answer to this question must be satisfying enough to keep readers engaged. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or take time with a carefully outlined outline, a story will fail unless there’s a clear path to its conclusion. The domino effect in writing can help you achieve this goal by providing a structure to guide the progression of your narrative.

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