The Domino Effect in Fiction
Like the playing card cousins that inspired them, dominoes can provide endless hours of entertainment when they’re arranged in lines and angular patterns. In fact, the game can be so popular that there’s even a professional domino game competition.
The word domino itself dates back to the early 1300s, and it appears to have been a synonym for a long hooded coat worn with a mask at carnival season or at a masquerade ball. It was also used to refer to a long black cape worn by a priest over his white surplice. The modern sense of the word is probably based on its French roots.
Dominoes are rectangular blocks of wood or another material that are divided by a line or ridge into two parts. The identifying marks on the face of each piece are usually an arrangement of spots, or pips, identical to those on dice (except that there are no blank squares). Each domino has one matching end bearing either zero, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 pips. A typical set of dominoes has 28 unique pieces.
When a domino is standing upright, its potential energy, based on its position, is stored. When it falls, this energy is converted into kinetic energy, which causes other dominoes to fall in a chain reaction. This “domino effect” can be used in all sorts of ways, from building structures to illustrating mathematical relationships.
For example, in a game of dominoes, players score points by laying a domino tile end to end on a surface and then counting the number of dots on the exposed ends. Generally, only the ends that match are used; if a domino has a double end, additional tiles can be played across from it but not to it.
Whether you’re a pantser, composing your manuscript off the cuff, or an outliner, you can use this concept of the domino effect to help you plot your story. By considering how scenes in your novel will affect those that follow, you can create a well-integrated narrative that reaches a satisfying conclusion.
In fiction, each scene domino is ineffective on its own but a chain of them will naturally influence the next, just as a string of dominoes will eventually fall in rhythmic motion. In this article, we’ll explore how you can use the domino effect in your writing, whether it’s to illustrate a complex math equation or to build tension in a dramatic scene.
A domino art display can be as simple or elaborate as you want, from straight lines to curved ones that form pictures when they fall, grids that allow you to create 3D structures, and more. The possibilities are virtually endless, and it’s easy to get started. You can even make a custom template for your domino design to help you plan out the shapes and sizes of each piece before you start creating your masterpiece. The template should include arrows to show the direction of each strand as it flows down the display.