The Domino Effect in Writing


A domino, also known as a bone, card, men or pieces is a flat thumb-sized rectangular block with one side bearing from one to six dots or pips. The other side is blank or, in some cases, marked with numerals for game purposes. A complete set of dominoes contains 28 such tiles. A domino can be used to play a wide variety of games that involve blocking or scoring. Some of these are adaptations of card games, and others allow children to practice their number recognition and counting skills. A Domino set can even be used to teach algebra and geometry by constructing lines of dominoes that add up to a given sum, or to demonstrate the principle of multiplication by repetition.

When the first domino is tipped ever so slightly and lands, it starts a cascade that continues until all the pieces are in place. This is called the domino effect, and it can be a beautiful sight to watch.

In writing, the domino effect can be applied to scenes that build toward a climax in your story. By considering the domino effect when you are plotting your novel, you can ensure that all of your scenes work together to create a seamless story with no hiccups in logic.

The term domino comes from the Latin dominus, meaning “lord” or “master.” As such, it’s a title to be earned by demonstrating an understanding of the chain of command and the gravity of each move. It’s an appropriate name for a leader, particularly in a military context.

Before a hand of dominoes begins, the tiles are shuffled. This helps to hide the location of any particular tile from the other players, allowing them to make their plays more strategically. Once the shuffle is done, each player places one domino on the table, positioning it so that both of its open ends match another domino in the chain (e.g., a 6-6 matches a 5-5). The other players then play their tiles into the match, continuing to extend the chain.

Most domino games are positional, with each player in turn placing a domino edge to edge against an opponent’s piece such that its numbers add up to a specified total. The game ends when either a player cannot play any more dominoes or reaches a point at which all of the opponents’ remaining pieces are connected. The winners are those whose combined total is the lowest.

Some of the most popular domino games include chess, draw, chicken foot and Mexican train. Other games are more akin to classic solitaire or trick-taking games, which were once commonly played in some areas as an alternative to card games in order to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards. These games are typically designed to be simpler and more educational than other domino games. For example, a simple version of Concentration is often used to help children learn to recognize and match numbers. A set of double-six dominoes can also be used to teach basic addition.