The Domino Effect

When a domino set is arranged on the table, long lines of the tiles are poised to topple with just the nudge of one. The builder of the arrangement carefully positions the first piece so that when it is tipped, it will cause the others to fall in a rhythmic cascade. This is what’s called the Domino Effect. The term is used to describe any action that causes a chain reaction of similar events.

A popular game, dominoes are a rectangular tile with an arrangement of dots, or pips, on two sides and a blank or identically patterned surface in the center. A metal pin (called a spinner or pivot) is attached to the middle of each piece. Dominoes are usually played with a double-six set of 28 tiles, although larger sets exist for games involving several players or for those looking to play longer domino chains.

Most people play dominoes for fun, but it can also be a useful tool to teach children about counting and number recognition. Unlike dice, which have a fixed number of sides, each domino has six or more, and there are many ways to arrange them on the table to create patterns and designs. Stacking the dominoes on end in long lines is another way to make them playable, and very complex arrangements can be built by careful positioning of each piece.

Dominoes are often used in educational programs to introduce students to the concept of sequencing events and logical thinking. The ability to think in terms of a series of connected actions is an important aspect of developing math skills, and it can help students understand the importance of making sure all parts of an equation are correct before they can move on to the next step.

When playing domino, the goal is to eliminate all of the opponent’s tiles by blocking or scoring them. Most dominoes are blocking games, and a player’s score is determined by counting the number of pips on each of his or her remaining tiles. Some players play solitaire or trick-taking games with their dominoes, which are adaptations of card games and were once popular to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.

Hevesh, the domino artist whose YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers, constructs her most intricate domino setups for movies, TV shows, and special events. She has even helped to set a Guinness world record for the most dominoes in a circular arrangement. Her largest creations can take several nail-biting minutes to fall. Hevesh carefully tests each section of her layout before putting it all together, and she films the test runs in slow motion to ensure that everything is working as it should.

Whether you write by the seat of your pants or with an outline, plotting a story requires a similar level of precision and planning. Otherwise, scenes will be out of order or lack enough momentum to raise the stakes for your reader. Thinking of your novel in terms of the Domino Effect can be a helpful guide for crafting a story that will keep readers on edge and eager to turn the page.