Domino Effects

Domino is a game in which players place tiles on a surface and then, in turn, knock over those tiles one by one. The first tile to fall causes the next tiles in line to be pushed down, creating a chain reaction until all the dominoes are gone. The first player to reach the end of a row of dominoes wins.

Dominoes can be used for all kinds of games, from simple straight or curved lines to grids that form pictures when they fall or 3D structures like towers and pyramids. The game is popular for birthday parties, family gatherings, and church group activities. A variety of game options are available, including a domino designer that allows players to plan out their tracks and then calculate how many dominoes they would need for the design.

Lily Hevesh started playing with dominoes when she was 9, and her collection soon grew to include a 28-piece set from her grandparents. She loved setting up a straight or curved line, flicking the first domino and watching the whole thing tumble down. She also enjoyed building her own designs, such as this 15-color spiral of dominoes she made in 2017.

She has since become a professional domino artist with a YouTube channel and more than 2 million subscribers. Her work includes creating domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events—including a recent album launch for Katy Perry. Her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to complete, and they can involve hundreds of thousands of dominoes.

A domino effect can be literal (a series of actual collisions) or metaphorical (causal linkages within systems such as global finance or politics). It can also refer to the domino effect of a story—how each scene contributes to and influences the next scene. In narrative, a domino effect is often created by a setback or problem that has a larger impact than anticipated.

As an example, a student’s bad test grade could have a domino effect on his or her academic performance, leading to failing grades in other courses and even dropping out of school. A business’s loss of a key client might have a domino effect on its bottom line, forcing it to rethink its strategy and cut costs.

Using a domino analogy to guide your writing can help you build a stronger structure for your stories. The most important thing to remember is that each scene domino is ineffective by itself, but when you lay down a few of them together they naturally influence the scenes ahead of them. So, whether you’re a pantser who lets your characters lead the way or a plotter who uses outlines or Scrivener to plan out your scenes, consider using this Domino Effect concept to strengthen your writing and achieve better results. Then, when you’re ready to publish your work, you’ll have the confidence of knowing that your novel is well-written and compelling. Best of all, you’ll have a domino-effect narrative that keeps readers engaged.